Robam Kngork Pailin (Pailin Peacock Dance)

Posted by IntoCambodia Team on 12 November 2017
Robam Kngork Pailin (Pailin Peacock Dance) is a long-standing legacy from the Kola ethnic group, who live in the region of Pailin in the west of Cambodia. The dance relates to a Pailinian legend about a magic peacock who goes to preach to the King. The lively dance is about commemorating this peacock which is a symbol of happiness. The dance imitates the peacock with lively colors of beautiful wings and suggests a courting scene between a peacock and a peahen. The dance is said to bring happiness and prosperity to villagers and is often performed during the New Year and ritual ceremonies in times of drought to pray for rain. 
Robam Kngork Pailin (Pailin Peacock Dance)

The dance was choreographed by Prof. Chheng Phon and Prof. Pol Som Oeurn in 1965. Performed until 1975, and re-intro¬duced in 1979, today it forms part of the curriculum in the Department of Choreography at the Royal University of Fine Arts.


The dance is deeply related to the original Khmer belief, which is similar to the rest of the world, such as in Africa, Asia or Australia, who believe in the spirits. Khmer people respect this belief even before Buddhism and Hinduism come to the Sovannaphum peninsular.
According to Kola tradition, there are various types of malignancies such as disease, bad things that harm the happiness of the villagers. Villagers always pray to Yeay Yat, whom they believe as the god of the land, sacred, and their guard, for letting her help get rid of and bring peace and happiness to the children of the people in the village.


According to a research paper from the Research Department of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts during the 1960s stressed that the origin of the dance was first organized. There is only male peacock to perfume based on the dream of the King’s daughter during the period for performing in the area or Kola ethnic in the occasion of Khmer New Year, Praying Spirits, and Yeay Yat. The performance just expresses about the nature, customs, and lifestyle of Kola ethnic. But after the research finding of Research Department, the department had set up two peacocks, one male, and one female, and added one hunter to improve the performance of the dance in describing the beauty and the environment in line with the benefits of the Pailin area, which is rich in diamonds. The dance performance relies heavily on gesture and features of the peacock in order to perform life-like scenes.


Apart from showing the geography and the natural beauty of the area rich in diamond, life, and traditional custom of the people living in the area. Robam Kngork Pailin took up the life journey of the peacock to show through male and female peacock, which are happily living together in the jungle. Suddenly, hunters came to fend the male peacock to break up the peacock couple and leave indefinitely pain. The dancing ended in that. Because it is thought that the performance of the dance is straightforward with no fascinating attraction. Therefore, they are preparing a pair of peacock and hunters to emphasize the happiness and unhappiness of animals. But later, they corrected this dance by ending only the slack of the male peacock did not succeed.   

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Reference
- Khmer guide (nd). Culture and Traditional. Retrieved from http://www.khmerguide.com/culture_traditional.php
- Keo, C. (2009, November 25). Peacock Dance. Retrieved from http://www.chanbokeo.com/index.php?gcm=1411&grid=127620&gtop=5233
- MCFA & UNESCO (2004). Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Cambodia: A joint publication of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and UNESCO. Cambodia: JSRC Printing House.