DANCING ACROSS BORDERS is the intimate and triumphant story of Sokvannara "Sy" Sar, who as a young man in Cambodia was dancing with a small troupe in Angkor Wat when Anne Bass, a longtime patron of dance in America, saw him perform. Bass was so taken with Sy's talent and potential that she arranged for him to come to New York and audition for the prestigious School of the American Ballet. What unfolds in DANCING ACROSS BORDERS is a tentative negotiation between Sy and the world of American ballet and culture - from the serene countryside of Southeast Asia to the high-powered rehearsal studios of New York, and finally to the stage of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. The film follows Sy's unusual development as a dancer and offers an astonishing, behind-the-scenes look into the world of American ballet.
Sokvannara Sar,Boran Kim,Keo Sa Roeum,Olga Kostritzky,Peter Boal,Jock Soto
On a trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, in 2000, Anne Bass came across sixteen-year-old Sokvannara (Sy) Sar performing in a temple with a traditional Cambodian dance group. His amazing natural charm and grace as a dancer moved her immensely; even after returning to America the memory of Sy's performance and remarkable abilities lingered.
A longtime patron of dance in the U.S., Bass decided to offer this young man the opportunity to leave his home and follow a dream that he could not yet have fully imagined. She asked the World Monuments Fund, who helped sponsor Sy's dance troupe, to contact his teacher and parents to find out if Sy would like to visit New York where Anne could introduce Sy to the world of ballet and see if he had an interest in auditioning for the prestigious School of American Ballet (SAB).
Sy arrived in New York at sixteen without any classical ballet training and was initially turned down at SAB, and so after studying privately with legendary ballet teacher, Olga Kostritzky, the head of the boys program at SAB, Sy auditioned and was accepted to study at SAB. When Sy arrived at SAB most of his peers had already been training for at least six years. Sy studied at SAB for five years and when he finished his training there Peter Boal, a principal dancer with New York City Ballet and one of Sy's instructors at SAB, became the artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and invited Sy to join the PNB School's Professional Division, where he eventually became an apprentice and joined the corps de ballet. Shortly after joining PNB Sy also entered and reached the semi finals of the International Ballet Competition at Varna, Bulgaria, the world's oldest and most prestigious ballet competition.