Cambodian American Resource Agency

Khmer arts and culture

The Cambodian American Resource Agency (CARA) was founded in 1998 by a group of Cambodian-American professionals and community members who had a deep interest in the uniting the local Khmer community.  The mission of CARA is to help initiate and support community-based events involving the Khmer community in order to increase recognition and raise awareness of the Khmer culture.  Among other programs, CARA supports the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe and the Cambodian Language School.

The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe is under the direction of Savary Dean who has been teaching classical and regional folk dances for two decades. These classes have been taught to the community for free, in memory of Ms. Dean’s teachers and artist colleagues who perished in the Cambodian genocide.

In 2016, a grant from ACTA's Living Cultures Grants Program will support the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe's production of The Judge Rabbit.  Seeing the stage for the first time in the United States, this interpretation of an ancient Cambodian folk tale will be led by artistic director Savary Dean and guest master artist Charya Burt, who will develop the choreography, music, and song.

In 2014, CARA received funding from ACTA's Living Cultures Grants Program to support Hidden Treasures, a capstone event for five high school seniors who have trained for years as Cambodian classical dancers through CARA's free weekly dance lessons.  The performance will be produced by dancers themselves, with the support of CARA's staff, and will be presented at a local high school.

In 2013, CARA received frunding from ACTA's Living Cultures Grants Program to underwrite costs to provide free weekly dance lessons through the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe.  Students will perform at the community's New Year Festibal, learn the folk dance, Fish Tales, and a core of male dancers will continue to perfect their monkey dance repertoire.

In 2012, CARA received a grant from ACTA's Living Cultures Grants Program to support advanced students' travel to Long Beach to study, dance, and live with musicians of the Ho Chan Ensemble.  The ensemble will also travel to San Jose in order to perform for the San Jose-based community and will feature local dancers in the concert slated for fall of 2012.


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