Beloved

Photo by Jon Rivera
Photo by Jon Rivera

Layering evocative English, Khmer, and Spanish narration onto a lush soundscape, Beloved casts a history of ritual lovemaking into the dancing bodies of gay men. It strips away the heavy costumes of Khmer classical dance down to a barren minimalism, revealing the charged eroticism of the ancient art form. Inspired by an Angkorian fertility rite recorded in the 13th century—in which the Khmer king made nightly sexual unions with a nine-headed serpent who took the form of a woman—Beloved situates the love between men in the ritual-poetic space in which Khmer dance is set, mirroring and shaping, stretching and re-choreographing the image of ultimate social order: heaven.

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