The Joyce Theater will welcome Khmer Arts Ensemble, under the artistic leadership of the acclaimed choreographer and dancer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, back onto its stage for one week this spring - from April 9-14 - presenting the New York premiere of A Bend in the River, a contemporary fable. Tickets range in price from $10-$49 ($10-$37 for Joyce Theater members) and can be arranged through JoyceCharge at www.Joyce.org or by calling 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket price is subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street in Chelsea. Khmer Arts Ensemble is performing at The Joyce Theater as part of the Season of Cambodia, an initiative of Cambodia Living Arts.
Led by acclaimed choreographer and dancer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, whose cutting-edge classicism makes you feel as if you've crossed over to another world, Khmer Arts Ensemble will perform the New York premiere of the full-length work A Bend in the River, a tale of love, heartbreak, magic, vengeance, consequence and redemption. A spellbinding story, inspired by a traditional folktale, this stunning production includes a live performance of a richly percussive score by composer Him Sophy and playful, life-sized puppets by sculptor Sopheap Pich. Khmer Arts Ensemble's appearance at The Joyce marks the opening of The Season of Cambodia Festival, a multi-disciplinary arts festival produced by Cambodian Living Arts, a Phnom Penh-based organization, in partnership with many of New York and Cambodia's leading cultural institutions.
Sophiline Cheam Shapiro's (Choreographer and Director) Khmer Arts Ensemble is renowned for its impeccable technique, its capacity to expand the Cambodian classical vocabulary to realize new works and its kinetic and musical collaborations. Sophiline's choreography has been commissioned by and toured to venues on four continents, including Vienna's New Crowned Hope Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Los Angeles' Disney Hall, Amsterdam's Muziektheater, University Musical Society and Carolina Performing Arts. NYC's Joyce Theater marks its 4th presentation of Cheam Shapiro's work with A Bend in the River, having previously presented Season of Migration, Pamina Devi: A Cambodian Magic Flute, and The Lives of Giants. Recent works by Cheam Shapiro include Fire! Fire! Fire - a triple bill with choreographers Pichet Klunchun (Thailand) and Eko Supriyanto (Indonesia) that was performed throughout Southeast Asia in 2013, The Lives of Giants, which toured the USA in 2010 and 2011, and Shir Ha-Shirim/Monkul Lokey, Cheam Shapiro's collaboration with composer John Zorn, which was commissioned and premiered at the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series in 2008. Cheam Shapiro is a 2013 McNight Fellow, a 2009 recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship -- a lifetime honor awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and a USA Knight Fellowship. She was awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture in 2006 and has received Creative Capital, Durfee, Guggenheim, Irvine Dance and McKnight International Fellowships, among many other honors. Born in Phnom Penh, Cheam Shapiro was a member of the first generation to graduate from the School of Fine Arts after the fall of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime. She immigrated to Southern California in 1991, where she studied dance ethnology at UCLA. She is artistic director and co-founder of Khmer Arts, a transnational organization dedicated to fostering the vitality of Cambodian dance across borders.
Him Sophy's (Composer) many compositions include: String quartet for violins, viola and cello (1987); A Memory from Darkness: Trio for violin, cello and piano (1990); Decline of Angkor - for soprano, flute, clarinet, cello, harp and percussion (1992); Symphony for large symphony orchestra (1993); The Mondolkiri Landscape - for cello and recorder (1998); I walk...and I cry on the island Poulouway - for recorder flute, alto flute, and bass flute (1998); and The Onomatopoeia of rhythm of ensemble Pin Peat - for recorder, flute, alto flute, and bass flute (1998). His music for dance includes Apsara - Dancing Stone: Music for contemporary Cambodian dance (1994). He has also written extensively for film, including such compositions as Blood and Life, No Home Too Far, and Cambodia Dreams. In 2008, his rock opera Where Elephants Weep premiered at Phnom Penh's Chenla Theater. His The First Strike premiered in March 2011 at the Auckland Arts Festival, and he is currently working on Bangskol: a Cambodian Requiem commissioned by the Season of Cambodia Festival. Him has been a professor of music at the Royal University of Fine Arts and the Royal Academy of Cambodia, and an instructor at the Northbridge International School. Born into a musical family in Prey Veng province, Cambodia, Him began his studies in music in 1972 at the music school of the University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and resumed his music studies in 1981. In 1985, he received a full scholarship from the Soviet Union to study in Moscow, where he lived for the next decade. He studied piano with Prof. Igor Lvovitch Bogomolov and Rima Anatolievna Khananina and composition with Prof. Konstantin Batashow and Prof. Roman Ledeniev. He also studied musicology with Dr. Yri Kholopov. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in music composition in 1993, his doctorate in composition in 1995 and his PhD in musicology in 1998. With support from an Asian Cultural Council fellowship, he traveled the USA as a visiting artist in 2001 and 2002.