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The Tenth Dancer
History of the Project
Interview with the Filmmaker :: Sally Ingleton
International Film Festivals
The Dancers
Background Politics
Cultural Background
Sally Ingleton Writes About Making the Film
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The Tenth Dancer


The Tenth DancerUnder the brutal regime of Pol Pot over ninety percent of Cambodia's artists were killed, including most of the classical dancers of the Royal Court Ballet.
Only one in ten survived.
This is the story of the tenth dancer.
After Pol Pot was overthrown, Em Theay now the Head teacher of the National Dance Company, returned to Phnom Penh to help rebuild the troupe. There she met up with her former student Sok Chea, whom she then trained to become one of the principal dancers in the company.
THE TENTH DANCER is an intimate portrait of the relationship between a teacher and her pupil set against the backdrop of war torn Cambodia. The film weaves between the past and the present, memory and dream, to reveal a story of human dignity and survival.
As EmTheay prepares her dancers for the Cambodian New Year celebrations - a time when respect is paid to the gods and one's ancestors, the dancers remember the New Year of 1975 when Pol Pot seized power and the story of the killing fields began.
'Under Pol Pot we were all without hope. We thought we wouldn't be able to come back. Now it's as if the flame is back. Before, during the Pol Pot time it had been extinguished. I had no energy to create the movements. It seemed like I was in a dream. Now I have the light to live. Just like a tree that is coming into bud and beginning to blossom.' Em Theay
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