The Perfect Motion by Xavier de Lauzanne — A Cambodian Dance Film Presentation and Discussion with Scholar Toni Shapiro-Phim

5:00pm – Mission Memorial Auditorium
Free and open to the public

Join us for a presentation of a new documentary film, The Perfect Motion, which will have its official world premiere in 2023. The film tracks the creation of a production by Cambodia’s royal dancers called “Metamorphosis,” under the direction of Princess Buppha Devi, and the history of the Royal Ballet since 1906, when Auguste Rodin attempted, through his drawings, to capture the essence of this art. Alternating between past and present, the movie offers a way for this traditional dance’s movements and postures, according to the film’s director Xavier de Lauzanne, to “take us to a world of mystery and splendor, gradually becoming the key to reconstructing national identity and a source of fascination for international audiences.” Conversation, facilitated by Dr. Toni Shapiro-Phim, a specialist in Cambodian arts and culture, will follow.

Toni Shapiro-Phim is Co-Director of Brandeis University’s Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, and Associate Professor of Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation. A cultural anthropologist (PhD Cornell University), her research, writing, teaching, and her community work in refugee camps in Southeast Asia and in urban settings in the U.S., focus on the cultural context of the arts in discrete regions of the world, particularly in relation to violence, genocide, migration and refugees, conflict transformation, and gender concerns. She is a specialist in Cambodia, and in dance more broadly. Co-editor of Dance, Human Rights and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion, she has contributed to Dancing Transnational Feminisms: Ananya Dance Theatre and the Art of Social Justice; Coexistence in the Aftermath of Mass Violence: Imagination, Empathy, and Resilience; Annihilation Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide; and The Choreography of Resolution: Conflict, Movement, and Neuroscience, among many other publications. Her film, Because of the War, was awarded and American Folklore Society prize for “superior work on women’s traditional, vernacular, or local culture.”