Surianty Liu Chun Wai, better known as Ibu Surianty to her students, is a key figure in the development of Malay dance in Singapore. Upon invitation from the Ministry of Culture, she followed her mentor Saugi Bustami to Singapore in 1959, where she stayed for two years to teach Indonesian and Malay dance forms. This is where she met Nongchik Ghani and Sulaiman Jeem, founders of local cultural performance group Sriwana, a group that she still maintains a close relationship with. While in Singapore, she also formed relationships with other local dance pioneers, taking lessons in Indian dance and ballet from Santha Bhaskar and Goh Soo Khim respectively. In this interview conducted by researcher Muhd Noramin Mohd Farid, she shares about her journey to become a dancer, her time in Singapore, her philosophies in performance and her teaching career in Singapore and Asia.
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Ibu Surianty meeting President Sukarno in 1957. Image courtesy of Sriwana and Surianty Liu Chun Wai.
Muhd Noramin Mohd Farid (Soultari) is a choreographer, arts educator and researcher from Singapore. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Dance Studies at Royal Holloway, Uni of London.
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