Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tarian Lilin

Malaysia is renowned for its rich multi-cultural and multi-ethnic heritage and music and dance are integral to Malaysian culture.  Moreover, it is often thought that Malaysia’s varied dance and music forms have their origins in the source nations from where much of its population hails. Over the years, though these dance forms have mingled with various local cultural components to give rise to a performance art form, which in fact is today uniquely Malaysian.
The Tarian Lilin or the candle dance is one such indigenous dance form of Malaysia. Known to have originated Indonesian island of Sumatra, Tarian Lilin is an immensely graceful, hypnotic dance form which doesn’t fail to mesmerize audiences each time. The dance which requires a tremendous amount of dexterity and skill on the part of the dancers is usually performed by women. The dance calls upon the performer’s ability to skillfully balance lighted candles stationed on plates, held on the dancer’s palms.
Like many other dance forms, the beautiful Tarian Lilin has a tale associated with it. The dance tells the tale of a beautiful maiden who was abandoned by her suitor, who proceeded to embark on a search of wealth and riches. The saddened maiden, then unfortunately suffered another setback, when she lost her engagement ring during her suitor’s absence. The dance goes on to relate the tale of the maiden’s search for the ring which was conducted with the aid of the light that emitted from the candles held in her palms as her search continued late into the night.
The movements of the maiden’s body, the graceful swaying, bending and kneeling were so exquisite that they inspired the dance form which came to be known as Tarian Lilin. Today the Tarian Lilin is a popular as a dance form which is performed at major events like Graduation day ceremonies, official inaugural functions and even at kenduris or Malaysian social gatherings.

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