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Choreography and Performance by: Prumsodun OK

Text by: Prumsodun OK and Joel Smith


I am currently collaborating with queer Cambodian choreographer and dancer Prumsodun OK on a new evening-length performance, “Beloved.”  Funded by a prestigious MAP Fund Grant


Beloved” casts a history of ritual lovemaking onto 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.”


Together with Prumsodun we are developing a script. I am originating/writing the role of the King and he the serpent. Once the script is developed I will consult with Prumsodun through the creative process as he develops the choreography and stages the work. “Beloved” is being funded by a prestigious MAP Fund Grant and is being produced by Showbox LA in Los Angeles, winter 2015.




Prumsodun Ok in Robam Lom Arom.  Photo: Jon Rivera

writing sample


I am restless and cannot sleep. This thick air I breathe chokes like the passion I feel for my beloved.  I suffocate with desire.


His presence is like the sweat that drips down my neck. Watery beads trail like playful fingers, over and through every curve and crack to places unseen. A chill runs through my spine—relief from the thick summer air.


Crickets sing a restless hymn. Their calls guide and give hope I might find him soon, my lips to his forehead, my chest to his flesh.


With each step my heart rumbles like the thunder that dropped this most recent rain. Down. Down. Down, onto my skin, like the moonlight’s kiss, like the caress of his lips. His eyes opening and closing. His shoulder sloping on the bed.


I am drawn towards him.

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