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Heavenly emissaries Royal Ballet of Cambodia descend on Long Beach
Heavenly emissaries Royal Ballet of Cambodia descend on Long Beach

Twenty-four years ago, the Classical Dance Company of Cambodia astounded audiences at the Los Angeles Festival with its ritual dances and stories of fantastical demons and mythical goddesses. The female dancers appeared to float, thanks to their mastery of a grounded but flowing heel-to-toe gait. Their elbows, toes and fingers were curved backward in hyper-extended poses that defied nature and bone structure. And the troupe's back story was chilling: The classical Cambodian dance had been saved from near-oblivion during the Khmer Rouge regime of the late 1970s, when an estimated 90% of the country's artists, including its dancers, were killed. But a determined effort to...

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