|Arts and expressive culture are integral to Cambodian ritual and everyday life. Many art forms have deeply sacred meanings associated with Cambodia's ancient history.
Cambodian arts and expressive culture includes a rich variety of dance, music, theater, literature, painting, carving, silversmithing, and textile production. Prior to 1975 artistic methods and techniques were not written down, but were transmitted orally from a master teacher to their students. Students began learning at an early age and spent years of concentrated study perfecting their art form. During the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979), it is estimated that nearly 90% of Cambodia’s musicians, dancers, and artists were killed, utterly destroying much of this precious cultural knowledge. Some regional styles and variations were lost forever as a result.
Long Beach has several dance troupes and music ensembles which have been sponsored over the years by various Cambodian organizations such as the Cambodian Association of America, Cambodian Culture and Arts Council, Khmer Arts Academy, and United Cambodian Community. These organizations and the Cambodian Student Society of CSU Long Beach produce culture shows and beauty pageants presenting Cambodian dance, music, theater, and clothing not only for the community, but also as a way to share their culture with non-Cambodians as well.
Long Beach is also home to several jewelers, tailors, wedding planners, and gift shops, which reproduce many of these arts. Such shops are found throughout Long Beach, but most are located on Anaheim Street in the heart of Cambodia Town.
This section of the website provides information on the history and recreation of Cambodian dance and music in Long Beach. Information on literature, theater, and other arts will be added over time. We invite anyone who would like to contribute documents, books, video, or photographs to the CamCHAP archive or website to please contact us at the Historical Society of Long Beach, 562-424-2220, email: