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Sam-Oeun Tes
Sochietah Ung
Devi Yim
Chum Ngek


Sam-Oeun Tes

Madam Sam-Oeun Tes began her instruction in Cambodian classical dance with the Cambodian Royal Ballet in 1966, studying with a variety of Cambodia's premier dance masters and performing at numerous state functions.

In 1971, she left Cambodia and emigrated to the United States.

With the establishment of Cambodian American Heritage in 1980, Madam Tes became its dance director. Over the years, she has instructed members of the dance troupe in the art of Cambodian classical dance and has performed with her students in many venues including the University of Hawaii and the Cabrillo International Music and Dance Festival (Santa Cruz, California). In the greater Washington, DC. area, members of the troupe have performed at the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, the Freer Gallery of Art, the American Red Cross, presidential inaugural events and various folk art/heritage festivals.

In addition to her work with the troupe, Madam Tes has performed in dance workshops at Smith College (Amherst, Massachusetts), the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Maine and the University of Massachusetts. She has also participated in the Jacob's Pillow Music and Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts.

In 1998, Madam Tes received a heritage fellow award from the National Endowment for the Arts for her contributions in the study and performance of Cambodian dance in the United States.

Sochietah Ung

Sochietah Ung is a survivor of the Cambodian Holocaust. After escaping Cambodia and making his way to refugee camps in Thailand, Mr. Ung came to the United States where he resumed his study and performance of Cambodian dance.

Mr. Ung joined the dance troupe in the early 1980s as a dancer and became an instructor and master dancer in 1989.

Along with his responsibilities for instructing members of the dance troupe, Mr. Ung is instrumental in the design and construction of the costumes worn by our performers. In particular, he is recognized for creating the various crowns worn by our dancers as part of the costumes in the Cambodian classical dance repertoire. The crowns seen in the photographs of the dancers on our website are all creations of Mr. Ung. Using modern techniques and materials, he has created headdresses for the dancers which are durable, light, meticulously detailed and spectacular in appearance.

Mr. Ung's talents are well known beyond the dance troupe. He is often called upon to construct crowns and headdresses for private individuals and other Cambodian dancers in the United States.

Yim Devi Dos

Devi Yim is the dance director of Cambodian American Heritage, Inc. She selects and teaches both classical and folk dances for performances by the dance troupe and for the classes provides for aspiring students of the dance. As a certified cosmetician and make-up artist she is directly involved in the make-up and costuming of dancers for the group’s public performances.

Devi Yim is one of today’s premier Cambodian classical dancers. She is one of a small group of performers to command all three of the major female roles in the ballet’s dance dramas: Sita (the wife of the god-king Rama in the Ramayana epic), the apsara Mera (a special dancing girl of Cambodian mythology) and Moni Mekhala (the legendary Water Goddess). The present curriculum at Cambodia’s Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) allows for only one of these roles to be commanded by an individual dancer.

Ms. Yim is a 1987 RUFA graduate. While a student, she traveled extensively and performed domestically throughout Cambodia and abroad in trips to Russia, Vietnam and India. Upon graduation, she taught new RUFA students from 1987 – 1990.

In 1990, Ms. Yim performed in the United States on a tour by RUFA students and teachers, with performances in Los Angeles, Seattle, St. Paul, Minnesota, Lowell, Massachusetts, New York City and Washington, DC.

Ms. Yim settled in the United States and has continued to dance and teach with Cambodian American Heritage.

Ms. Yim is devoted to her Cambodian heritage. She never tires of presenting the art and elegance of the Cambodian classical dance to American audiences.

Ms. Yim, her husband and two children reside in Arlington, VA.

Sovanny Chum
Chum Ngek

Cambodian American Heritage is honored to have one of the finest Cambodian master musicians as a performer and instructor with Cambodian American Heritage.

Music has always been a part of Master Chum Ngek's life. Early on, it was recognized that he had a talent and gift for the music of his homeland. Over the years, he apprenticed under a number of Cambodian master musicians learning a variety of string and percussion instruments.

Most often, Master Chum Ngek is associated with the Cambodian xylophone, the roneat. It is this instrument which is at the heart of Master Chum Ngek's playing and instruction.

Long associated with Cambodian American Heritage, Master Ngek leads an ensemble of fellow musicians and vocalists for numerous performances by the dance troupe. In our annual observance of Cambodian New Year each April, Master Chum Ngek features a recital by his student ensemble as well as leading the professional ensemble which accompanies the dance troupe.

Master Chum Ngek's reputation extends beyond his association with the dance troupe. He is often called upon to perform in various public and private functions throughout the United States. In addition, Master Chum Ngek is featured on a number of recordings of Cambodian music recorded here in the United States.

Copyright © 2011
Cambodian-American Heritage, Inc.