• A Cambodian classical dancer, when practicing her moving meditation developed over a thousand years ago as a ritual prayer, displays a serpentine grace that is hypnotic and sublime. Her form is supple, her gestures fluid, and she floats in curvilinear paths across the stage. This is no coincidence as the serpent – moving like the waters that bring fertility and sustenance to the land, bridge between heaven and earth, the being in which the first “Cambodian” sovereign took form (in one creation story anyways) – was worshiped prevalently throughout what is now Cambodia before the introduction of major religions. And today, after many generations of refinement, the serpent can still be seen in this highly stylized art form: its scales transformed into a costume’s detail and its function assumed by a human dancer.

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