Exploring Cambodia’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

What does the term “intangible cultural heritage” mean? Why is it important to preserve traditional art forms? In what ways does cultural heritage contribute to the health and wellbeing of a nation?Students of the Canadian International School, of Phnom Penh explored answers to these questions through a unit of study based on the life of Queen Indra Devi and her enduring contributions to Cambodian fine and performing arts. This inquiry–based learning approach is a hallmark of our teaching and begins by posing real world problems or questions to engage students in deeper learning.Dancers perform the “Dance of Queen Indra Devi” at the CIS Black Box TheatreOn November 15th, students from elementary to high school were able to connect their learning and to celebrate the inauguration of our Black Box theatre with a presentation from the Princess Buppha Devi Dance School.Under the direction of His Royal Highness, Prince Sisowath, Tesso, the dance school performed a specially created ballet connecting the time-honoured traditions, from Queen Indira Devi to Princess Buppha Devi.Dancers align to stunning visual effect on stageStudents and staff were honoured to be provided with a first hand experience of the beauty and elegance of the Royal Ballet, of and traditional Cambodian music and gained first hand experience of the importance of preserving traditional culture.Thanks to the CIS board of directors, Canadia Group and UNESCO, the dance performance has been preserved on film and the lesson plans created have become a permanent teaching resource for future generations of students within CIS and in the broader community. 

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