An Apsara (also spelled as Apsarasa) is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. English translations of the word "Apsara" include "nymph," "celestial nymph," and "celestial maiden." Khmer classical dancers use stylized movements and gestures to convey meaning and tell a story. These gestures are often vague and abstract while some may be easily understood. The apsara, a woodland spirit, is played by a woman, sewn into tight-fitting traditional dress whose graceful, sinuous gestures are codified to narrate classical myths or religious stories. The tradition of dance, honed for over a millennium, was almost lost in the Cambodian genocide, when the Khmer Rouge targeted those involved in the dance and "imposed a massive cultural forgetting". In 2003, UNESCO declared the dance a "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Culture", and laid plans for a regeneration of the art form.