When is a demon not a demon?
Apsara dancers are the traditional dancers of Cambodia. They are the “celestial dancers” that adorn the walls and hallways of Angkor Wat and the other temples of Siem Reap. Apsara dancers often dance the Cambodian version or telling of the Ramayana, a Hindu story of Rama, whose wife Sita is taken captive by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. Today, Gavin Gough and I wandered with the students from the Angkor Photo Workshop to the ruins of Bayon. Everyday, a troop of costumed apsara dancers arrive in Bayon to allow tourists to have their photos taken with Sita, Ravana, Hanuman the monkey god and others. Gavin and I bargained hard and managed to secure three dancers for models for the workshop. At 5:30pm they promptly arrived at Angkor Wat for the photo shoot. We divided the dancers between three instructors to direct and to coach the students with shooting. I was fortunate to have the terrible demon god Ravana, who in this case was portrayed by Rechana, a beautiful young Cambodian woman and was no threat to me at all. Below are some of the images from today.