These senior citizens are dedicated to keeping dance legacy alive

Full of grace: Phua (third from right) energetically performing the ribbon dance with her friends at Swee Nyet Keung temple in Gua Musang. — Bernama

GUA MUSANG: Apart from the well-known lion and dragon dances, the Chinese community has other dances in their cultural repertoire such as the fan, flower ball and ribbon dances.

Realising that many young people are unfamiliar with these dances, at the golden age of 76, Phua Kui Yong, along with her friend Ng Giok Hoon, 71, took the initiative to preserve these traditional cultural performances.

Phua mentioned that these dances also symbolise the cultural identity of the Chinese community but have not received much public exposure.

“That’s why we voluntarily took on the responsibility to showcase and preserve the fan dance, ribbon dance, and flower ball dance, or Xiuqiuhua,” she told Bernama at the Swee Nyet Keung temple.

With nearly 50 years of experience in the field of dance, Phua stressed that all these dance forms symbolise joy, opulence, and blessings while adding that her enduring energy and high stamina are a result of dancing six days a week.

“I moved here from Perak with my husband in the 1970s and got to know the locals through dance activities,” she reminisced.

She then turned it into a morning exercise routine from Saturday to Thursday, dancing at least an hour and a half before heading to work.

In 2003, they began receiving requests for performances, to add a festive touch to events.

According to Ng, the dances serve to introduce the community to the diverse Chinese dance styles, aiming to preserve the cultural heritage left by their ancestors.

She expresses the importance of keeping this legacy alive, ensuring it does not fade away with time and remains relevant in contemporary society.

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