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Malay Opera (Bangsawan)

By: mckenwong on 11 Apr 2011

Otherwise also known as Malay Opera, Bangsawan likely developed from a type of Indian theatre performance brought to Southeast Asia by Indian travellers in the 19th century.

It grew in popularity during the 1950s, as more came to appreciate and enjoy the theatre-like experience provided by Bangsawan performances. The singing, dancing, and acting combine to tell tales of heroic princes, brave folk heroes and romantic love.

One of the unique features of Bangsawan is the 'extra turn'. The curtains are lowered and dancing girls appear on stage to perform dance-hall numbers such as the cha-cha and rumba. Occasionally, comedians also appear to add variety to the performance.

Traditional Malay wedding dinners also feature the Bangsawan, while the local Sri Warisan Dance Troupe performs it as well.

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