Cultural pioneer—Windsor’s Charya Burt uses traditional Cambodian dance to help refugees and other members of her community.
Local Cambodian dancer receives grant award
Charya Burt, a Windsor resident and Cambodian dancer, has never felt more honored and humbled. Through funding by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Dance/USA awarded $1,000,525 to 31 artist fellows, including Burt. The award is for artists addressing social change, which she does by preserving her culture.
A classical dance master and choreographer, Charya Burt works with Cambodian communities in California to keep her culture’s traditions alive. She said her work is being recognized by an organization that truly supports artists.
“Especially culturally-based artists like myself. You feel more accomplished, but you also feel like you are included. Your voice is being heard,” Burt said.
Charya Burt is the founder and artistic director of Charya Burt Cambodian Dance, which is based in San Francisco. Her husband of 26 years, Rob Burt, is the executive director of the dance organization, as well as a creative partner and grant writer.
Rob Burt was a theater teacher for 35 years, and upon retirement, the Santa Rosa High School District named Elsie Allen High School’s theater building after him.
Charya Burt began her training at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Cambodia with the few surviving dance masters of Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, eventually becoming a member of Cambodia’s Royal Dance Troupe. She emigrated in 1993, and has performed in places like the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Opera House and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
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