Our Staff & Artists

SCS Portrait


Artistic Director & Co-Founder - 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 Advisor 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.

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PRUMSODUN OK  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. 

      khanniaKHANNIA OK Associate Artistic Director/ Instructor She began dancing at the age of 8 in 2001, under master teacher, artist, choreographer, and Khmer Arts founder Neak Kru Sophiline Cheam Shapiro as well as Charya Burt, Prumsodun Ok, and artists from Cambodia who have shaped and molded her bloom. Her tenure at Khmer Arts have included performances at venues that include CounterPULSE, TEDxSocal, Montana Folk Music Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, TuTu Foundation, and more. Khannia’s educational background in technical theatre has aided her as instructor of over 50 apprentice students of all ages in the Long Beach, CA community.

DSC02120REAKSMEY (MEA) LATH Managing Director- 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 and parts of the US with her time at Khmer Arts. Mea is a graduate of San Diego State University.

Khmer Arts-22SEREY TEP Volunteer - 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 and now volunteers her time to help Khmer Arts.