Dian Dancers light the way for aspiring talents in the graceful art of Malay traditional dance.
BY DAPHNE ONG
Published on 23 December 2016
BY DAPHNE ONG
“Our presence is not solely for the purpose of displaying talent,” explains Abdul Yazid Mohamed Juhuri, artistic director of emerging Malay traditional dance company, Dian Dancers. “We aim to provide more for our talents.” This is done by offering dancers a platform to learn and enhance their talents as well as advising them how to overcome problems. “We nurture these talents into becoming thinking artists,” shares Yazid.
In the Malay language, dian means glowing light. It is fitting then, that beyond putting up shows, the company illuminates the paths their aspiring talents can take to develop their craft. Led by their motto, ‘Enlightening Our Cultural Heritage’, Dian Dancers make it their mission to promote and preserve traditional Malay arts and boost its level of appreciation both in Singapore and around the world.
Since it was set up in 2003, Dian Dancers have performed in countries like India, China, Indonesia, South Korea and Australia. Multicultural and folklore festivals are among the many international festivals to have featured the graceful moves of this Singapore troupe. This includes their first solo overseas trip to Canberra, Australia, where they showcased the Malay art form to an Australian audience at the National Multicultural Festival 2012.
The company’s dancers hail from various walks of life (including students, teachers, freelancers) and are generally between the ages of 18 and 35. While participation is usually on a voluntary basis, Yazid adds, “We hope to groom our dancers to become professionals — potentially, they can even work with us as full-timers in the near future. We aim to build a family of positive talents, and we are very supportive of our local pool of dancers.”
Outreach is important to Dian Dancers. Not only do they offer wedding dance performance packages, they also organise dance workshops. Says Yazid, “We want to nurture versatile, disciplined dancers who are proficient in multidisciplinary art forms, who will serve as ambassadors of the Malay culture through dance. We believe in continuous upgrading of skills through artistic exchanges and having guest instructors and choreographers. We’re also looking to foster more collaborative relationships with local and international artists.”