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The Ensemble

Choreographer and Director SOPHILINE CHEAM-SHAPIRO’s Sophiline Arts Ensemble (formerly Khmer Arts Ensemble) is distinguished by its impeccable technique, its capacity to expand the Cambodian classical vocabulary and realize new works, and its collaborations across disciplines. Sophiline’s choreography has been commissioned by and toured to venues on four continents, including Vienna's New Crowned Hope Festival, the Venice Biennale, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Los Angeles' Disney Hall, Amsterdam’s Muziektheater, New York’s Joyce Theater and Guggenheim Museum, the China Conservatory and Singapore’s Esplanade.

Cheam-Shapiro is a 2013 McKnight International Fellow, a 2009 recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship—a lifetime honor awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts—and a USA Knight Fellowship.  She was awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture in 2006 and has received Creative Capital, Durfee, Guggenheim and Irvine Dance Fellowships, among other honors.


Born in Phnom Penh, Cheam-Shapiro was a member of the first generation to study classical dance and graduate from the School of Fine Arts after the fall of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime. She immigrated to Southern California in 1991, where she studied dance ethnology at UCLA. She founded the Ensemble in 2006.

Sophiline Cheam-Shapiro, center, and ensemble dancers in rehearsal. Photo: Nobuyuki Arai

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