Rasas 2021: Dances across SOM56
Join the founder of Sri Warisan, Madam Som Said, as she celebrates 56 years in dance as a performer, choreographer, artistic director and educator. The dancers of Sri Warisan present excerpts from a selection of four key works from her rich repertoire, ranging from the 1960s to the 2000s.
1. Sekapur Sireh (1968)
Inspired by tepak sireh (beetle leaves), this dance was conceptualised by Mdm Som Said in the early ‘70s as a welcome dance, featuring traditional dance movements that represent a gentle and graceful reception of guests.
2. Tanjung Katong (1992)
Set to the catchy instrumental track Di Tanjung Katong, this couple dance is a playful take on courtship and romance. It was partly inspired by the historical Tanjung Katong park and beach, a historical spot where families and couples once frequented. This dance was performed at the Japan Min-on Arts Festival in 1992, and is presented yearly in schools across Singapore through the company’s arts education programme, Roots – My Beautiful Singapore.
3. Tari perpisahan (bangsawan in dance, Dendam Berahi) (1998)
Bangsawan (Malay opera) once thrived in 1940s Singapore but was nearly wiped out by the booming Malay film industry headed by Cathay Keris in the 1950s. As a tribute to the theatrical art form, Mdm Som created the first bangsawan-inspired dance in 1998 titled Dendam Berahi – Tari Perpisahan (Farewell Dance). This dance was inspired by a scene where a princess had to depart from her prince and their kingdom. It was very well received when performed during Sri Warisan’s community outreach programmes in Singapore.
4. Lestari Seni di Taman Warisan (2004)
This piece was commissioned in 2005 by the Malay Heritage Foundation for the grand opening of the Malay Heritage Centre. Set to a composition by local artist Zubir Abdullar, this opening dance uses a jidur drum as a symbol of welcome, as well as cembul, a traditional jar-shaped container, as a prop.