The last quarter of the 20th Century has been a harsh chapter in Cambodian history.  When the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia in April, 1975, a deliberate effort was made to eradicate all ties to Cambodia's rich cultural heritage and the people responsible for its preservation.

For the Khmer Rouge, April, 1975 represented the beginning of the Year Zero.  Cambodian and the Cambodian people were to be remade to fit the mold of the victorious revolution.  Many people were summarily executed.   Others died from torture, malnutrition and disease.  In the manner of cold statistical analysis, it is estimated that between 12 and 25 percent of the Cambodian population of roughly 8 million perished between 1975 and 1979 during the Khmer Rouge nightmare.  Among the artistic population of the University of Fine Arts at the time, it is believed that 90 percent of the faculty and student body perished during this period.

In human terms, every member of the dance troupe has lost family members to the violence perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge on the Cambodian people.

Despite the enormity of this horrific period in Cambodian history, Cambodian-American Heritage has established the premier dance troupe and music enseble dedicated to the Cambodian dance repertoire here in the United States.  Through a rigorous program of instruction in both Cambodian dance and music, our dance and music instructors have trained succeeding generations of Cambodian-Americans in this integral part of their ethnic heritage.

We are proud to be Cambodian and American and for the opportunities this great country has given us to rescue, revive and restore our cultural traditions.

Saroeum Tes
President
Cambodian-American Heritage 


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