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Dance Family

I Kid You Not #9 | The art of Malay Dance

Four dancers bust the moves of asli and zapin.


Published: 29 Oct 2021

Time taken : >15mins

Art is a very interesting and fun way to get to know other cultures. We don't really have to explain; once you see [it], you can just feel it.

In this episode, Maisarah and Sharifah team up to talk about asli, while Aleesyah and Sarah give us an introduction to zapin. The four young dancers trace the origins of two out of five—other styles are inang, masri and joget—traditional Malay dance forms, which are all hundreds of years old. Zapin is a fast-paced dance that is heavily influenced by other cultures and was once only danced by men, while asli is a slow, graceful dance that originated from the Malay peninsula, typically accompanied by pantun (poems). The girls demonstrate basic techniques that cut across different traditional styles and explain the key differences in asli and zapin, finishing with a flourish—a performance of both styles of dance.

Maisarah Rifqah Bte Mus Iskandar
Sharifah Auni Imaan Bte Syed Abdul Rahman

Aleesya Nadya Puteri Bte Muhammad Azim
Sarah Atikah Bte Aminuddin

Through the music and instruments of varied cultures and traditions, kids understand more about people who come from different backgrounds, while reconnecting with their own roots. This opens their minds from a young age, showing them the unique ways in which others might see the world. As they grow up, the kids are able to observe and appreciate different points of view, allowing them to effectively navigate the diverse world we live in.

Catch Muara Festival, Singapore’s annual gathering of Malay dance practitioners and enthusiasts, online from 29 Oct – 27 Dec 2021. Watch the first day of the livestream performances here

Acknowledgement by:

Special thanks to

Q'aisya Shukor
Fauzi Anwar
Aziela Rahim
Asmida Kasim
Fauziah Hanom Yusof

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