The culture of the Southern ethnic minority of Khmer is most reflected in the art of dance. Although influenced by Indian art, the Khmer art has its own typical identity, which has helped beautify the diverse arts of the Vietnamese ethnic minorities.
The Khmer dance has existed for a very long time in the art form of Robam, a classical opera, with dancing being the main language to reflect the story, situations and the feelings of the characters of the drama. The plots of almost all Robam dramas are legendary, therefore they are well reflected by dancing.
Besides the Robam art, there is the Duke opera, which was formed later. In this art, dancing does not play a key role, but it focuses on reflecting imitatively the mood of a character, with high stylization. Through the Duke dancing, the movements of the animals, such as the sacred bird (Krud), ogre (Yeak), sacred snake (Naga), monkey (Hanuman) and dragon (Phuchong) are scientifically systemzed and standardized. For example, there are 12 movements to reflect the activities of a monkey, including smiling, kowtowing, crying, jumping, joy and sorrow.
The Khmer dance has two main types, i.e. the royal and folk dances. The royal dance has became standardized and systemized. There are training schools where children from 6 years old are taught.
The art of the royal dance requires hard practice from the dancers, whose smile and eye glint, as well as movements of legs and arms, must reach classical standards. All specific requirements are decisive to evaluate the qualification of the dancers.
Most of the royal dancers are women, who may play the roles of men. The royal dance has a simple composition, -using slow and deep rhythm and reflecting the mood, mainly through the appearance, especially when depicting the sacred bird (Krud) and fairy (Kennar). There are other types of dances, full of religious there are 12 movements to reflect the activities of a monkey, including smiling, kowtowing, crying, jumping, joy and sorrow.