Robam Kuos Traloak (Coconut Dance)
Robam Kous Trolaok (Coconut Shell Dance) has been a legacy of Khmer people for a long time. This traditional folk dance was originated from Romeas Hek district in Svay Rieng Province. This Dance is performed during the wedding ceremony (Groom Procession) and other festivals for cheering the atmosphere.
According to Khmer Culture and Civilization documents were written by Professor Pun Chhay mentioned that during 1965, the team of the National Conservatory of the Spectacular and Royal University of Fine Arts to conduct field research and invited a teacher who still remembered and had knowledge about this dance. His name is “Watt” who is a teacher at a primary school in the Svay Rieng province. He has traits like humor, words, and gestures, as well as use voice, mimic the sound of music in a comedy way. In addition, he has taught at the National Conservatory of Spectacular in Phnom Penh. The mentioned source said that after the trainees began to install the dance which has the format as the one we have seen today. This dance has been installed and officially started to perform for national and international visitors from 1966 until now. The same source added that Robam Kous Trolaok is different from many other traditional folk dances where they often bridged the ethnicity to the spiritual belief.
However, this dance has been used by the Cambodian people in the Romeas Hek district of Svay Rieng province to participate in the wedding ceremony, especially for groom procession in order to create a pleasant atmosphere and prompted the ceremony more pomp. And, female and male dancers hold each pair of beautifully polished coconut shell and often called “Trolaok Nhi-Chhmoul”. Then, they were dancing to traditional rhythms (Phleng Kar) with dynamic movement and cross open like a grasshopper with humor and naughty performance. On the other hand, according to Khmer preference, Coconut shell dance in the wedding is the creation of a happy and glory because this “Trolaok Nhi-Chhmoul” for Cambodian people believe as a symbol of natural properties, especially its agricultural production of the nation. Moreover, “Trolaok Nhi-Chhmoul” represents water and soil, which is a favorable condition for agriculture, and also the bond between adults, which is the prerequisite condition for morality in rural life.
This traditional folk dance is usually performed on fun occasions like Khmer New Year, Anniversary, and weddings due to its pleasant and cheerful music with naughty but gently performance. There are normally 5 pairs (can be 3 or 7 pairs) of men and women dressing traditional villager clothes with a pair of beautifully polished coconut shells for each dancer. Men and Women wear different customs and their colors may vary depending on favors.
- MCFA & UNESCO (2004). Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Cambodia: A joint publication of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and UNESCO. Cambodia: JSRC Printing House.