#Showbiz: Colourful array of traditional Malaysian dances reimagined

KUALA LUMPUR: The past and the future collides in KonTra: Bianglala, an exciting fusion showcase of contemporary and traditional dance happening at Pentas 2 of KLPAC from June 16 to 19.

KonTra marries the Malay word for contemporary and traditional, while Bianglala, which many may not know, means rainbow.

As the title promises, it will feature a colourful array of traditional Malaysian dances reimagined with contemporary touches using contemporary dance moves, digital elements as well as entirely new creations.

An impressive line-up of six choreographers, many of them award-winning, will be drawing from different dance forms such as the fast-paced zapin or mystical kuda kepang popular in Johor, court dance tari inai, tarian terinai, Portuguese-influenced joget and even martial arts to create six unique pieces.

Inspired by local customs and traditions, all these dances have a tale to tell, including Raso (which means rasa in Minangkabau) by Kerol Mohtar, founder of Nyala Dance Theatre and winner of countless awards at Short+Sweet Dance, Festival Tari and other competitions.

Inspired by traditional Minangkabau philosophy, he cleverly marries different traditional dances with Minangkabau elements.

Another exciting combination will be Sharm Noh's Buu-Geng. With his background in dance, gymnastics and circus art (as the artistic director of Psycusix), he brings an interesting take to the traditional martial art form of gerak silat through the use of buugeng which is a prop used in flow art. The word Buu means self-defense while geng means an illusion.

Aswara graduate Yee Teng uses the clash between femininity and masculinity from the story of Mulan.

The Master of Dance student cleverly weaves feminine and masculine movement from traditional Malay dances with elements from kuda kepang and some Iban influences in Mulan.

Then travel back in time with Dayang Norinah's Nian inspired by tari inai and Izzie Islam's Aku Mau inspired by tarian terinai.

Though not one and the same, both are ancient dance forms performed on palace grounds. Tari inai was often seen during the circumcision ceremonies of palace dignitaries while tarian terinai is usually performed with candles.

Last but not least, Zhafir Muzani, winner of five awards for his Balinese dance performance, turns to crowd pleasers zapin and joget to create his piece Sujud in this powerful experiment involving the body, music and vocals.

KonTra: Bianglala hopes to inject creativity and freshness to traditional arts, sparking renewed interest among the young and driving new creative works by dance artistes.

By bringing together our past and future, our traditional heritage and future innovations can stand on equal ground.

With its intricate costuming and different signature moves, dance lovers will be mesmerised from start to end.

Supported by KLPAC and MyCreative Ventures, tickets for KonTra: Bianglala are priced at RM50 and can be purchased online via

As part of KLPAC's birthday month, audiences can enjoy 17% off normal-priced tickets with "comehome17" promo code.

For the full list of its birthday month activities, visit, call 03-40479000 or WhatsApp +6018-2277212.

Donations can be made via

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