Cambodia’s first and only professional dancer with cerebral palsy, Dance has helped Thouen challenge his idea of what he can achieve. After a life of being ignored and being told not to speak Thouen found himself drawn to dance as a way to express himself on Epic Arts Inclusive Arts Course in 2015.
Thouen is excited about sharing his story, Buffalo Boy, with his country and the world.
Thouen got his break in late 2017 when he was about to graduate from Epic Arts’ Inclusive Arts Course after studying arts for two years. Thoeun told Epic Arts staff “Please don’t send me home, no-one understands me there.” when asked what he wanted to do after he graduated the course he said “I want to dance!” Thouen has cerebral palsy which, like most disabilities, is not understood in Cambodia. He has had significant trouble with verbal communication since he was a child, being told by his family “don’t try to talk to us, we can’t understand you”
“When I met Thouen in 2015 he would hardly ever make eye contact and I didn’t hear him speak for the first 9 months. I’ve seen Thouen transform into someone who knows they are valued.
Since he’s graduated and has been working on the Buffalo Boy project, he has taken control of his role in Buffalo Boy having the confidence to speak up when there is a problem and share his opinions in production, rehearsals and scratch performances in Cambodia”
– Hayley Holden, Projects Manager, Epic Arts.