Our Staff & Artists

SCS Portrait

SOPHILINE CHEAM SHAPIRO

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro’s groundbreaking choreography is distinguished by its impeccable technique, its collaborations across disciplines, and its capacity to expand the Cambodian classical vocabulary and realize new works. She has set her original dances on Cambodia’s finest performing artists and toured them to major stages on four continents. Notable venues include Amsterdam’s Muziektheater, Cambodia’s Les Nuis d’Angkor Festival, Beijing’s China Conservatory, Los Angeles’s Disney Concert Hall, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, New York’s Joyce Theater, Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace Theater and the Venice Biennale. Her commissions include those from the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process Series, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival.

Recent works include A Bend in the River, a collaboration with sculptor Pich Sopheap and composer Him Sophy, which toured the USA in 2013 and had its Cambodian premiere at Chaktomuk Hall in 2014, and the exhibition Gods & Angels at Phnom Penh's Java Arts.

Sophiline’s lifetime achievement awards include National Heritage and USA Knight Fellowships (USA) as well as the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture (Japan).  Other recognition includes Creative Capital, Durfee, Guggenheim, Irvine Dance and McKnight International Fellowships.

Her essays have been published in Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors (Yale, 1997), Dance, Human Rights and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion (Scarecrow, 2008), Cultural Identities: Bombay to Tokyo (Centre national de la danse, 2009), Beyond the Apsara: Celebrating Dance in Cambodia (Routledge, 2009) and elsewhere.

Born in Phnom Penh three years before the onset of civil war, Sophiline was a member of the first gen­eration to enroll in and to graduate from the capital’s School of Fine Arts after the fall of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime and was a mem­ber of the faculty there from 1988 to 1991. She studied all three major roles for women (neang, nearong and yeak), which is rare. With the school’s ensemble, she toured India, the Soviet Union, the USA and Vietnam. She moved to Southern Califor­nia in 1991 where she studied dance eth­nology at UCLA.  She now teaches and lectures internationally. She is Co-Founder and Artis­tic Director of Khmer Arts, a transnational performing arts organization dual-based in Long Beach, California, and Takhmao, Cambodia, and the parent organization of Sophiline Arts Ensemble, a 22-member professional dance and music troupe.  In 2014, she was appointed Advisor to Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

John Shapiro

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JOHN SHAPIRO (Executive Director and Co-Founder) has a background in visual arts, design, filmmaking, creative writing and non-profit development. He is also the executive producer of Khmer Arts’ creative and media projects.He holds a BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Prumsodun Ok

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PRUMSODUN OK (Associate Artistic Director) has studied classical dance with Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Charya Burt and in Cambodia with Khmer Arts Ensemble and performed throughout California. His original interdisciplinary performances
have been presented at venues that include REDCAT, Highways, KUNST-STOFF arts/fest, CounterPULSE and Pieter among others.Read More

He compiled and edited the book Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso, and his writings have been published by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), Salon.com, LA Stage Times, In Dance Magazine and the California Dance Network. Among many honors, Prum is a TED Fellow, a Master Artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, an Association of Performing Arts Presenters Artist Fellow, a Durfee Foundation grant recipient, and was a mentee of Butoh dancer and teacher Oguri through a Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange Grant. 

Sot Sovanndy

Sot-Sovanndy-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-Cambodia

SOT SOVANNDY (Dancer/Archivist/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006 with lead roles in Pamina Devi, Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala, Spiral XII, The Lives of Giants and Stained.Trout Pol Chhney, which she co-choreographed, premiered in 2012. She studied classical dance at Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous internationally notable artists, including Germaine Acogny, Ananya Chatterjea, Pichet Klunchun, and Amanda Miller.

Cheam Chanthopeas

CHEAM-Chantopheas-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-Cambodia1CHEAM CHANTHOPEAS (Vocalist/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2007. Before joining the

Keo Kunthearom

Keo-Kuntearom-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaKEO KUNTEAROM (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2008 with lead roles in Seasons of Migration and The Lives of Giants. She recently starred in the experimental short film Neang Neak, choreographed by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and directed by Masahiro Sugano. She is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Reaksmey (Mea) Lath

DSC02120REAKSMEY (MEA) LATH (Instructor) has studied classical dance with Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Charya Burt, Sothavy Khut and Sophanmay Nong as well as with Khmer Arts Ensemble in Cambodia. With Khmer Arts Academy, she has performed throughout California. Mea is a recent graduate of San Diego State University.

Long Chantheary

Long-Chantheary-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaLONG CHANTHEARY (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with the Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006. She is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Nil Sineoun

NIL-Sinoeun-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaNIL SINEOUN (Musician/Instructor) learned to play roneat ek with his father, Nul Nil, who was a professor of music at Phnom Penh’s School of Fine Arts. Since joining Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble in 2006, he has performed throughout Cambodia and in Europe and North America. He also teaches pin peat music to students in the village of Preak L'vea, where he lives.

Pum Molyta

Pum-Molyta-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaPUM MOLYTA (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006 with lead roles in Pamina Devi, Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala, and Monkul Lokey. She is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Sao Somaly

Sao-Somaly-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaSAO SOMALY (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006 with lead roles in A Bend in the River, Munkul Lokey and Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala. Trout Pol Chhney,which she co-choreographed, premiered in 2012. She studied classical dance at Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Som Saymalyrou

Som-Saymalyrou-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaSOM SAYMALYROU (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2008 and has performed leading roles in Seasons of Migration and Munkul Lokey. She is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous internationally notable artists.

Chao Socheata

Chao-Socheata-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-Cambodia

CHAO SOCHEATA (Associate Artistic Director) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006 with lead roles in A Bend in the River, The Lives of Giants, Munkul Lokey, Pamina Devi, Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala, Seasons of Migration, Spiral XII, Stained and Untitled, a dance co-choreographed by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro and Amanda Miller. 

She studied classical dance at Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with many notable artists, including Ananya Chatterjea.

Serey Tep

Khmer Arts-22SEREY TEP (Managing Director, Long Beach) studied classical dance in Chicago before relocating to Long Beach, where she has studied under Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Charya Burt and Sothavy Khut. Before joining the Academy staff in 2006, she worked in the airline industry.

Bin Sophors

BIN-Sophors-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaBIN SOPHORS (Musician/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2010. He is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts and teaches music history at Chea Sim Chrouy Changvar High School.

Kem Rithy

KEM-Rithy-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaKEM RITHY (Musician/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2010. He is a graduate and current faculty member of Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts.

Kong Oukma

Kong-Oukma-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaKONG OUKMA (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2009. Trout Pol Chhney, which she co-choreographed, premiered in 2012. She studied classical dance at Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Lim Chanboramy

Lim-Chanboramy-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaLIM CHANBORAMY (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with the Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006. She is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Mot Pharan

Mot-Pharan-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaMOT PHARAN (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006 with lead roles in A Bend in the River, Munkul Lokey, Pamina Devi, Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala, Seasons of Migration, Spiral XII and Stained. She is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists, including Germaine Acogny, Ananya Chatterjea, Pichet Klunchun, and Amanda Miller.

Phatt Sophat

PHATT-Sophat-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaPHATT SOPHAT (Musician/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2008. He is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and National College of Pedagogy. In addition to his work with Khmer Arts Ensemble, he teaches music history at Chea Sim Chrouy Changvar High School.

Ros Chenda

Ros-Chinda-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaROS CHINDA (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2009. In 2012, she premiered her first choreographic work, Preah Thong, as part of Phnom Penh’s Our City Festival.She studied classical dance at Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Sao Phirom

Sao-Phirom-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaSAO PHIROM (Dancer/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2006 with lead roles in Pamina Devi, Munkul Lokey, Spiral XII and The Lives of Giants. Trout Pol Chhney, which she co-choreographed, premiered in 2012. She studied classical dance at Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and has taken workshops with numerous notable artists.

Soun Phally

Suon-Phally-Dylan-Maddux-Season-of-CambodiaSOUN PHALLY (Musician/Instructor) has performed internationally with Sophiline/Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2008. He is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts.

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