Charya Cheam Burt

Cambodian Classical Dance

About the Artist

Charya Burt is an acclaimed master dancer, choreographer, vocalist and teacher of Classical Cambodian Dance. After the Khmer Rouge genocide, Burt trained extensively with Cambodia’s foremost surviving dance masters, eventually joining the dance faculty of Cambodia’s Royal University of Fine Arts. As a member of Cambodia’s Royal Dance Troupe, she toured internationally. Since emigrating in 1993, Burt has performed her works throughout the nation at venues including Jacob’s Pillow, San Francisco Opera House, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many others.  A true culture bearer, Burt has conducted workshops at schools and colleges around the country.

Burt has devoted her life to reviving classical Cambodian dance through preserving authentic movements,  gestures and dances of the classical repertory, thus helping to strengthen a sense of cultural identity for Cambodian-Americans. She has trained thousands of dance students throughout California including multiple stints as artist-in-residence at Cambodian cultural centers in Stockton, San Jose, and Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach. In 2021 she was awarded a Creative Work Fund Grant with Mosaic America to create Beautiful Dark about the effects on colorism on immigrant communities of color and a Hewlett 50 Commission to create The Rebirth of Apsara: Artistic Lineage, Cultural Resilience and the Resurrection of Cambodian Arts from the Ashes of Genocide. In 2022 Burt was granted a Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Seed Commission.

An inaugural Dance/USA and 2022 Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellow and Isadora Duncan Award recipient for Individual Performance, Burt has received multiple grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, Creative Work Fund, and Alliance for California Traditional Arts including their Living Cultures Grant (2021) to create the Charya Burt Cambodian Dance Digital Library. Her recent choreographic works include Silenced (2018), Of Spirits Intertwined (2018), and Heavenly Garden (2016). Burt’s mission is to continue to preserve and renew her art-form, elevate the professionalism of community dance groups, and to create innovative new works firmly rooted in tradition. She offers a range of services including performances (solo/group), workshops/demonstrations, and dance classes (private/group/in-person/on-line). She is founding artistic director of Charya Burt Cambodian Dance, based in the San Francisco North Bay.




Cambodian Classical Dance


Artistic consulting, Classes, Curating, Group instruction, Lectures / Lecture-demonstrations, Performances, Private instruction, Production, Workshops

Program Participant

Apprenticeship Recipient, Living Cultures Grant Recipient

Offerings Location

In-person services, Online/remote services





Artist Social Links