Cambodian American Resource Agency (San Jose, CA)


  • Name:Mr. Phillip Lim
  • Title:President, CARA Board of Directors

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Cambodian American Resource Agency
  • Address:3067 Marston WaySan Jose, CA 95148
    355 Ezie Street, San Jose, CA 95111
    San Jose, CA 95148
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:408 4397564

Organization Web

User Phone

  • Direct phone:650 814-7300

User Email


Click map for a full size active view.


  • Mission:
  • The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe seeks to preserve the traditions and customs of the Cambodian people, known as Khmer, expressed in Cambodian classical and folk dances by offering free weekly dance lessons in San Jose, California to all interested parties. Dancers participate in traditional, rigorous dance training weekly and perform at the annual Cambodian New Year Festival held in April. The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe is a gift of Ms.Savary Dean, artistic director, to the Cambodian community and the greater community of Silicon Valley.. Ms. Dean has taught and performed Cambodian classical and folk dances since 1985 to honor of her dance teachers from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, who perished during the Cambodian Holocaust.

    The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe is a program of the Cambodian American Resource Agency, CARA, whose mission is to initiate and provide support for community events involving the Khmer community in order to increase recognition and raise awareness of the Khmer culture. The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe and the Cambodian Language School are free programs, open to the public in San Jose, California. These two CARA programs preserve the traditions and culture of the Cambodian people by teaching language and dance, two vital forms of communication in the Cambodian culture.

  • Overview:
  • The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe, under the artistic direction of Ms. Savary Dean, provides free Cambodian classical and folk dance practice and lessons on Friday evenings, September through April. Dancers dress in traditional dance costumes and participate in rigorous exercises designed to strengthen dancers for the complex and demanding Cambodian dances. These fundamental exercises form the foundation for hand and foot movements in the classic court dances of Cambodia. Dancers are assigned to groups, with the youngest dancers practicing beginning dances like the flower dance which shows the graceful hand movements of planting the seeds and having a flower bloom. Dancers progress to folk dances like the peacock dance, the fish dance, the stick dance and then move to the classical court dances of Cambodia, most often represented by blessing dances which feature females bringing blessings from heaven to the Cambodian people. Boys are able to do the folk dances, they role of Hanuman and Giant are the two classical roles for men in Cambodian dance. Dances are selected to be performed at the annual Cambodian New Year Festival in April by the artistic director, depending on the skills of the dancers and the requests of the dancers to learn and perform a particular dance..

    In 2015-2016, the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe will perform a classic folk story of the Rabbit, a role performed by Ms.Savary Dean when she began dancing in Cambodia. This well known and loved folk tale in Cambodia will tell a story of the rabbit with other animals in the jungle. Originally scheduled for 2015, the production has been pushed to the 2016 as the teacher in Cambodia could not obtain a tourist visa. The teacher has expressed an interest in having this original piece produced in San Jose, California as it has not been presented in Cambodia since the Khmer Rouge occupation of Cambodia.

    This grant is to support the artists, Ms. Savary Dean, artistic director, Ms. Raline Von Bulow, dance teacher, Ms. Charya Burt, consultant, Mr. Ryan Boun, assistant, Ms. Cheng Sim Bun and Ms. Aimee Boun, assistant. The artists are provided a small honorarium in recognition of their work as dancers and teachers for the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe. Ms. Dean is the artistic director who has inspired others to dance and to teach. Ms. Dean trained as a young girl in Cambodia at the University of Fine Arts before fleeing the Khmer Rouge and resettling in San Jose as a refugee. Ms. Raline Von Bulow trained in Siem Reap during the period after the Khmer Rouge before coming as a teacher to San Jose, Ms. Charya Burt trained at the Royal University of Fine Arts after the fall of the Khmer Rouge and came to the United States, working as a consultant dance teacher and is a professional artist performing throughout the world. These talented dancers who trained in Cambodia are joined by the senior dancers of the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe, who assist with dance practice and in mentoring the younger dancers.

    Dance practice is open to the public, with dancers coming from as far as San Francisco to participate in the weekly dance practice. Dancers come because they convince their families that this is important to them. Dancers come because their parents convince them that they must learn about their culture, preserve their Cambodian heritage and it is a good group of youth who are college bound..

    This grant application will support the honorariums for the teachers in this production. Additional funds will be needed to bring musicians to the special performance of the story of the rabbit.

    The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe performs throughout the Bay Area upon request and availability of the dancers. In 2012 over 3500 people saw the performances of the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe. The dancers have traveled to Long Beach, California to work with the Ho Chan musicians and to perform at Ethnic Fest in Tacoma, Washington. For one dancer, this was the first time out of the San Jose area and gave her an opportunity to dream big about going to college and being Cambodian in the US.

    The goal of the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe is to keep the Cambodian culture alive in San Jose, through dance by offering Cambodians born in Silicon Valley a chance to learn about the traditions, the dances, the culture and the people which make the Cambodian community a community that brings the past into the present.

  • History:
  • Ms. Savary Dean, artistic director of the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe, began training as a dancer at the University of Fine Arts in Cambodia as a young girl. She participated in a project to preserve the folk dances of Cambodia, traveling throughout Cambodia recording and performing folk dances with the University. Escaping the Khmer Rouge during the period known as the Cambodian Holocaust, Ms. Dean fled the country by walking through the Cardamon Mountains to the refugee camps in Thailand. Eventually settling in San Jose, California, Ms. Dean has dedicated her life to preserving the Cambodian classical and folk dances to honor her dance teachers that were executed during the Cambodian Holocaust. Ms. Dean wants to keep her culture alive and an active part of the rich culture found in Silicon Valley and has volunteered since 1989 as a dance instructor for the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe..

    Cambodian dance is an integral part of Cambodian culture, as the Cambodian people are seen as descendents of Mera, a dancer. Dancers, or apsaras are seen as carriers of the culture and bring messages and blessings from the heavens to the Cambodian people. As carriers of the cultures, dancers are the foundation of Cambodian culture. During the Cambodian Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge systematically executed the intellectuals and dancers as they were seen as the carriers of the culture. From those ashes, Cambodian dance in the United States is continued by the dedication of dancers like Savary Dean who trained before the Cambodian Holocaust and carried the dances through the refugee camps. They are joined now by dancers who trained after the fall of the Khmer Rouge Regime, Ms. Charya Burt and Mr. Saranorrin Pheng trained at the Royal University of Fine Arts and have joined Savary Dean as consultants for the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe. Mr. Thavro Phim, trained at the Royal University of Fine Arts with Ms. Charya Burt, he volunteered for a year with the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe before moving to Philadelphia.

    Ms. Dean began volunteering in 1985 teaching Cambodian dance in a church basement to a group of teenagers who needed a more solid foundation of their culture. Cambodians coming to San Jose often worked long hours in the emerging high tech industry, leaving the increasingly American born children to fend for themselves in an area of many challenges. The area Cambodians first settled was near the Tully Library, an area of low academic achievement, mixed and low social and economic status, and an area with few cultural resources. Since 1985, Ms. Dean has taught Cambodian dance on Friday evenings in different locations to hundreds of Cambodians and other interested people who have come from as far away as Sacramento to learn the traditions that Cambodian dance offers. For many of the students and families, this is their first understanding of daily life in Cambodia and of the rich heritage which is they have. Cambodian dance builds a positive foundation for Cambodians who are often seen as a small, poor and uneducated community. The Cambodian community is located in the same area as the much larger Vietnamese community in San Jose.

    With increasing support of the greater community in Silicon Valley, the Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe has been able to continue to provide Cambodian dance performances in different venues, from raising money to remove land mines in Cambodia to public schools and churches wishing to know more about Cambodia and its traditions. The Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe has been able to keep the Cambodian culture alive and to share the rich heritage of Cambodia with others.

  • Year established:1989
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:3
  • Advisory board size:7
  • Staff size:1

Board and Executive Names

  • Board Members / Trustees:
  • Phillip Lim, President, CARA Board of directors
    Bodavy Boun Treasurer, CARA
    Paul Prom, Secretary, CARA
    CARA Board of Directors
    Deva Ok
    Cham Yean
    Leslie Kim
    Paul Prom

  • Executive Director / President:
  • Savary Dean, Artistic Director, Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe

Staff Names

  • Key Staff:
  • Ms. Savary Dean, Artistic Director
    Ms. Raline Von Bulow, Teacher
    Ms. Charya Burt, consultant
    Mr. Tak, monkey dance consultant
    Mr. Ryan Boun, assistant
    Ms. Cheng Sim Bun,assistant
    Ms. Aimee Boun, assistant
    The artistic director, teacher, assistants are all volunteers. At the end of the season, if there is money an honorarium is given to them in appreciation for their dedication and time.

    Ms. Charya Burt and Mr. Tak are consultants from outside of San Jose, they are reimbursed for their travel and their time.


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID:77-0499975