Apsara Dancer - Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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"The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie." -Agnes de Mille

Apsara dance is the traditional Cambodian dance that was practiced in the royal palaces. This traditional dance almost went extinct during the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge.

The Khmer dance is characterized by intricate finger and body movements (i.e. flexibility) which usually convey a story or message.

What better way to understand Khmer history than photographing an apsara dancer at historical Angkor Wat. On this particular morning a celestial dancer descended from the clouds to be my model at the Bayon temple. I don’t what kind of story her fingers were telling me that morning, but I think it had to do with a gratuity.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Southeast Asia.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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Greg-0, Eddie 11uisma, and 23 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. Ben North 21 months ago | reply

    Great portrait.

  2. tapbirds 21 months ago | reply

    Stunning, beautiful portrait - - the soft focus on outstretched fingers and headdress is fantastic!

  3. Luís Henrique Boucault 21 months ago | reply

    Very nice shot! Well done!

  4. David Shield Photography 21 months ago | reply

    You certainly get to some beautiful places too, Sam. This dancer is gorgeous, and that outfit is awesome. I would say that this is well worth the gratuity! :-) A spot-on exposure!

  5. Scottwdw 21 months ago | reply

    Lovely capture and information, Sam!

    I want to thank you for the Western US information you gave me. I will be following up with you soon!

  6. Nora Carol 21 months ago | reply

    great portrait i like the costumes, so colorful :)

  7. Michael Carl 21 months ago | reply

    brilliant color and a real grace to this portrait

  8. Travis-Allen 20 months ago | reply

    What a great shot! I have been perusing your shots from SE Asia, looks like one hell of an adventure. Angkor Wat will always have a special place in my heart, great shot!

  9. Stephen Oachs (ApertureAcademy.com) 20 months ago | reply

    Great capture Sam, the lighting and DOF are superb.

  10. FL-Claire 20 months ago | reply

    You are a very gifted man and extremely talented in photography . It's an honor to be added to your contacts. Thankyou for your comment.

  11. TIA International Photography 20 months ago | reply

    Striking image of the Aspara dancer, Sam. Fabulous details and exposure for this portrait. Thanks for stopping by. Your good-natured humor is always appreciated. Hope you’re having a great summer.

  12. fiftymm99 20 months ago | reply

    beautiful shot

  13. Benicio Murray 20 months ago | reply

    Did you get to see the real dancers while in Seam Reap? Unfortunately this girl isnt a professional dancer - you can see because she cant bend her fingers right back.

  14. Sam Antonio Photography 20 months ago | reply

    Yes, I did get a chance to see the dancers at the shows in Siem Reap. I have plenty of photos of them but the lighting was terrible.

  15. Benicio Murray 20 months ago | reply

    same place I saw them then!

  16. mwprater 18 months ago | reply

    Spot on....the colors are just, well....wow..

  17. Sole & Luna 14 months ago | reply

    Beautiful portrait !

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