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Cambodia's ancient finger dance makes a comeback

Published on Mar 28, 2013 1:32 PM

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Wrists bent and fingers curled, the immaculately dressed dancers perform a series of gestures that, according to ancient custom, carry the wishes of the Khmer kings to the heavens.

Sporting golden head-dresses, the dancers slowly stretch back their wrists and - standing on one leg - perform a set of moves with their hands representing offerings of leaves, flowers and fruit to the gods.

Apsara dance, a classical style of the Angkorian era, nearly vanished in the 1970s under Cambodia's Khmer Rouge communist regime, which exterminated much of the country's heritage along with up to two million people.

But the dance is making a comeback after its unique moves were painstakingly recorded by experts who studied sculptures and wall carvings from Angkor Wat's temples, which are roughly 1,000 years old.

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