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Monday, July 28, 2014

Phare: The Cambodian Circus and The Green Star

Happy Monday Y'all! 

I hope your week is going well so far. Today I want to share a couple wonderful experiences we had while visiting Cambodia. On our second night, we decided to visit The Cambodian Circus. We weren't really sure what to expect, but we heard it was a non-profit group that worked in educating and training children that were living in poverty and begging on the streets. The performers learn their skills through Phare Ponleu Selpak (an arts education program), and the students learn to 'express and heal themselves through the arts.' 

The 3 goals of the organization are: 
1. Create a gainful career opportunity for our artists
2. Financially sustain our business and our parent organization (PPS)
3. Develop the artistic culture of Cambodia

The Cambodian Circus is marked by the big red tent that is set up right outside of town. The shows and performers rotate every week or so, and the students write and choreograph most of the performances. We watched the performance Proniap (Panic!) which was about a group of 7 circus artists that are given the opportunity to audition for a world famous circus-theater company. We absolutely loved the performance. It was amazing to watch and see how the students genuinely loved what they were doing. 

Matt and I bought 'Seat A' tickets which were $35 each, and we sat right in the front row. We were also given a complimentary water and a goodie bag at the end of the show. The venue is pretty small, so I would not be worried about being able to see if are in 'Seat B.' The tent is a bit hot, but they give you fans to use during the show. 

The show was not perfect. The performers made mistakes- including the fire dancer dropping his fire baton right under my skirt. Talk about an up close experience! But the show was amazing. It was put together well. The story was fun and watching what they could do was amazing. My favorite part was seeing how much the boys trusted each other. They were throwing each other in the air- balancing each other- throwing fire at each other- and there was always someone spotting them. You could tell they enjoyed what they were doing and that they trusted one another to get the job done. 

I really feel like this is one experience you can't pass up when you are in Siem Reap. For more information about The Cambodian Circus (including how to donate)- click here.

Here are a couple of videos from the end of the show.

And if you are interested for another non-profit opportunity while in Siem Reap- check out The Green Star (part of the Green Gecko project). The purpose is similar to The Cambodian Circus- to provide education and housing to children living on the streets. The Green Star is a restaurant that serves pretty darn wonderful food and excellent service. 

The fried corn is one of their specialities (above right) and it was delicious. We also had the onion rings, glass noodles, and the pork ribs. Everything was delicious. Just like the circus- I think The Green Star is not something you can pass up while in Siem Reap. For location and reviews- click here

I know this post was a bit long, but I'm really happy I finally got to these posts. Visiting these non-profit organizations and feeling like we were giving back some how was amazing. 

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- Alex