“ My world is dance which is carried by the Trade Winds and rides the crests of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

The islands of Southeast Asia are the world of the Malay-Polynesian peoples.

I am one of them and Dance is the Centre of my universe.”

Azanin Ahmad


In 1978, audiences at the Experimental Theatre, University of Malaya witnessed the birth of a new Malaysian theatre phenomenon in the dance drama,  “Dayang Sari”. In the years ahead, Azanin went on to successfully forge several dance dramas drawing her dance vocabulary, musical scores and aesthetic qualities from traditions deeply embedded in indigenous society. Each of her original works became a milestone in the cultural landscape of Malaysia.

The 1980 production of “Jentayu” was described as a landmark in Malaysian theatre and the work riveted audiences in West Berlin and London. At home, her artistic creations continued to garner popular support through television. Her 1983 production of “Putri Sa’dong” earned the byline of an “Election Stopper” when it was screened over television. A surprised political journalist covering a by-election in Kota Bahru, Kelantan found the election crowd conspicuously missing. They had stayed at home watching “Putri Sa’dong”.

Her performances abroad evoked a similar reaction. In Japan, “Seri Rama - Siti Dewi”  (1990) played to packed theatres in Tokyo, Isei City, Hiroshima, Kita Kyushu, Gifu and Osaka.

In 1992, Azanin mounted two new theatre productions in rapid succession. The first, “Keris” was a royal Command Performance in the presence of Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Azlan Shah and Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Bainun. “Keris” is another significant work as it seeks to define the cultural personality of the Malay Peninsula as part of the island world of Southeast Asia. In September 1992, she successfully staged another major work of art, “Kunang-kunang Gunung Ledang”.

This dance drama was again performed by special invitations at the Charity Gala Night and special invitations also came from Penang in December and from Ipoh in January 1993.  In April 1994, on the personal invitation of our Ambassador in Spain“Kunang-kunang Gunung Ledang” was presented in seven theatres in Spain, including live coverage from Spanish television stations.

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