GRACEFUL and expressive routines, put on by budding performers in the Cultural Dance Competition, encapsulated the country’s rich ethnic diversity.
Dressed in vibrant and elaborate costumes, the 13 troupes from eight local schools enthralled with well-choreographed numbers during the two-day contest at Straits Quay Retail Marina in Penang.
Teams from the Penang Chinese Girls High School swept the top two positions, holding off the challenge from six other teams in a keenly contested final.
Their La Art Space Team B, with eight members all aged 15, triumphed after weaving a poignant tale about the suppression of women’s rights and freedom in ancient China.
Combining energetic steps with tumbles on the floor and plebeian outfits to represent the fairer sex’s fight for equality, it struck a chord with the judges.
According to team leader Michelle Choong, as girls, it was an issue they could identify with.
“Women have long fought for independence, equality and rights, and we’re glad this helped us to victory,” Choong added after the recent contest.
La Art Space Team A came in second with a routine chronicling the resurrection of a long buried treasure — a phoenix headpiece from the Chu Dynasty.
Team leader Tea Xin Tong, 16, said it represented the enduring value of such priceless artefacts, and also their use in religious ceremonies.
“We’ve been practising since March, as we also participated in a state-level competition earlier.
“All of us love performing traditional dances as it honours our roots,” Tea said of the 10-member team, aged between 14 and 16, clad in bright green and yellow.
St George’s Girls School’s Kencana Mutiara team rounded up the top three. They also bagged the Best Dressed Award for their purple, blue and pink-hued traditional attire, complete with ornate headgear.
The team, comprising eight
16-year-olds, performed Tarian Melayu Inang and Joget, which are among the more popular folk dances in Malaysia, and often seen at social functions.
There were also consolation prizes for SM Berapit’s Belly Gem which showcased an Arabic belly dance, SMK Teluk Bahang’s Anak Gemalai Sulur with their Tarian Jongee, and Phor Tay Private High School’s Dance Visionary who put on a Chinese folk number.
The other two teams who made the final were SMK Raja Tun Uda’s RTU Dancing Queens who rendered a rhythmic Indian Kolattam dance, and SMK Bukit Jambul’s HDD Crew with Tarian Masri.