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Chanthou Lam

The work of Vietnamese-Cambodian dance artist Chanthou Lam is a culmination of her upbringing in the government housing of Sacramento where she developed a love for Hip Hop and all things dance. She started as a cheerleader in middle school and joined any dance clubs in high school while taking her first studio classes at Step One Dance and Fitness in downtown Sacramento where Pepper Von and Mary Wright provided a rare opportunity to clean studios and teach little ones ballet in exchange for unlimited classes. This was a game changer. Chanthou spent hours and days taking 2-4 classes a day for years.


As an adult, she furthered her dance training with Ruth Rosenberg Dance Ensemble and then at Sacramento State University, Sacramento under the tutelage of Dr. Linda Goodrich, Lorelei Bayne, Paul Besaw, Lisa Carmen Ross, Nolan T’Sani and James Wheatley. There she fine tuned dance styles in Modern, Afro Cuban/ Afro Caribbean, Funk, Jazz, and Modern/Contemporary. In addition, she joined dance companies from 2002-2017 with Sacramento/Black Art of Dance directed by Dr. Linda Goodrich and Ebo Okokan led by Beatriz Godinez Muniz and Harold Muniz. Both focused on Afro-Caribbean and Afro Cuban Folklorico diaspora. She is a forever student and continues to travel to New York and the Bay area for classes. She was recently awarded a month long artist in residence in upstate New York to establish a community based project. Chanthou has also served on the board of Color Me Human, a nonprofit organization in Nevada County that seeks to celebrate, elevate, educate, and advocate to create a safe, equitable world for Black, Indigenous, People of Culture and LGBTQ+ folks.


Chanthou’s works weaves her diverse background in dance with dance therapy creating pieces that are very personal to the dancer. Being an immigrant forced her to produce work with very little resources unknowingly creating a strong belief in self sufficiency while also recognizing the power of community and the resources each individual brings.  A big component to her work galvanizes dancers, artists, activists, audiences and communities through classes, dialogue and performances. Her work projects voices of the youth, voices and stories from women, from her own experience as Asian woman growing up in the States, bringing attention to issues of belonging, of equality, of love, of suffering and equity and access to education. Chanthou hopes her work inspires people to look into themselves to share and to heal becoming a conduit for cultural and social change via their own volition and to use their platform to create positive changes in society. At the core, her mission is to instill a great love for dance art, encouraging people to strive for excellence in one’s work and connect with one’s community. 

The Project


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