Robam Krama Khmer (Khmer Scarf Dance)

Posted by IntoCambodia Team on 12 November 2017
Robam Krama Khmer (Khmer Scarf Dance)

Traditional Folk Dance Refers to all kinds of dances that are passed on from one generation to another and that is often linked to an ethnic group's traditional' ceremonies. In Cambodia, traditional dances mostly involve animism and express beliefs in the supernatural. When people have problems thought to have been caused by supernatural or spirits, they offer lively dances to appease them.

Folk dances are performed at religious ceremonies, festivities, and for leisurely entertainment. Traditionally, all dances were performed in the village in large clearings or public areas at times of birth, marriage, death, during planting and harvesting, hunting, war, or at a feast. Some dances are related to Buddhist beliefs such as Kgnork Pailin and Trot dances. Others are performed once a year according to various spiritual and ceremonial calendars.

Khmer folk dances are highly spirited dances that follow popular themes with lively movements and gestures. Dance motifs are usually based on local legends and the everyday life of the people. Dancers dance with easy, improvised yet composed movements that are designed to invite humor and enthusiasm, with an upbeat music and rhythm. Many dances are accompanied by drums and instruments from the Mahori and Pinn peat ensemble. 

Krama dance depicts the everyday life of rural villagers 'with the playful use of the Khmer krama. A krama is a multi-check¬ered cloth scarf commonly worn by Cambodian people, especially farmers, who often wear it around their head or neck to protect themselves from the sun when planting or doing chores.

The dance was choreographed in 2001 by an undergraduate student for his gradu¬ation piece. Changes were later made to the dance's choreography by Mr. Nguon Som Ath, Mrs. Mem Simareth, Mr. Nop Sam Bona, Mrs. Men Chanary, Ms. Pherk So Khen, Mrs. Chhem Sokha, and Mrs. Keov Van Chan. It was officially performed by artists from the Department of Performing Arts, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts at the 4th "National Culture Day" on April 3, 2002. The dance now forms part of the curricu¬lum in the Faculty of Choreography at the Royal University of Fine Arts.

- 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.
- Khmer guide (nd). Culture and Traditional – continue. Retrieved from