Referencing the brutal Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s, “Drops and Seeds” marks the persistence and evolution of Khmer classical dance, which today rests on the shoulders of merely a handful of artists. Originating over one thousand years ago as a prayer through movement for prosperity, traditional Khmer dance sees dancers act as conduits between heaven and earth, delivering prayer to the gods. “Drops and Seeds” takes its title from a poem by Norwegian lyricist Simen Hagerup. Departing from this notion of dance as a mediator between earth and sky, the piece sees Prumsodun Ok, the first male student of one of the few surviving dancers of the Khmer style, replacing the traditional female Khmer performer with a queer dance ensemble. With composer Ana Maria Rodriguez, light and stage designer Fred Pommerehn, and Berlin's Ensemble KNM, Ok & NATYARASA guide audiences across fragile, challenging, and shifting terrain, navigating the impossible contradictions between micro and macro, individual and society, as well as personal fate and cosmic pathos.
Prumsodun Ok – Choreography
Ana Maria Rodriguez – Music / Live Electronics
Fred Pommerehn – Stage / Light
Sory Chan | Chay Khuon | Sopharoth Morn | Chamreoun Soeurn | Sokhon Tes | Ponmonyka Touch – Dance
Ensemble KNM Berlin
Rebecca Lenton, Flutes | Theo Nabicht, Saxophone/Contrabass Clarinet | Horia Dumitrache, Clarinets | Michael Weilacher, Drums | Theodor Flindell, Violin
“Drops and Seeds” is a project by Ensemble KNM Berlin, Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA in cooperation with CTM Festival 2020 and radialsystem. Funded by the Capital Cultural Fund Germany (HKF) and the Goethe-Institut Thailand. Ensemble KNM Berlin is funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
Prumsodun Ok was born to Khmer refugees in the United States. As a choreographer, dancer, and writer, he uses art to heal, illuminate, and empower. Seen by many as a hero of Khmer culture, his work revives the spirit of his people from the enduring forces of conflict.
Stage/light designer and installation artist Fred Pommerehn has been active since 1990. As a freelance artist and scenographer, he has spent years creating installations, and working on stage design, lighting, and costumes for theaters, festivals, events, dance theatre, and music productions, as well as cultural education projects.
Argentinian composer Ana Maria Rodriguez is equally inspired and fascinated by nature and technology. Through her research in artificial intelligence at the Fraunhofer Institute, she developed preoccupations with the re-creation and re-composition of (acoustic) reality.
Berlin’s Ensemble KNM is a key part of the city’s lively contemporary music scene. Founded in 1988 by Juliane Klein, Thomas Bruns, and other students at Berlin’s Hans Eisler Hochschule for Music, the ensemble today consists of 10 musicians from Germany, Great Britain, and Switzerland.