Apsara has its origin from Sankrit language, meaning a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They are often the wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra. They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels.
Apsara dance is a form of Cambodian classical dance, popularly known as Cambodian Royal Ballet. It makes an integral part of Khmer culture and Khmer civilisation. No trip to Cambodia would be complete without attending an “Apsara dinner” which showcases the most famous pieces of Cambodian classical theatre. The apsara is performed by a woman, sewn into striking traditional dress, whose graceful, sinuous gestures are codified to narrate classical myths or religious stories. The costume of the apsara role is based on the devatas as depicted on bas-relief of Angkor Wat. They wear a sampot sarabap, a type of silk brocade that is intricately pleated in the front.