Nothing that was to happen on Wednesday morning thwarted our trip to the Azanin Dance Garden.'
The members of the MCG ( Malaysian Culture Group) gathered to car pool for this exciting outing to Hulu Langat To cut a long story short, we got lost in the concrete jungle of Cheras etc. Finally we got a taxi to lead us there. 3 cars followed the 'leader'. Some who navigated better got there first waited patiently for us to arrive.
We were warmly greeted by 2 dance members of Suasana Cultural Centre and Datin Azanin Dato Ahmad herself . First we had to cross a swing bridge over the clear Langat river. Then the lush garden took our breath away. Heliconias! Costus! And so many other plants looking absolutely brilliant in the mid morning sun
Datin Azanin, dancer- choreographer showed us the way to the Balai - Rumah Ibu where many musical instruments and artefacts are kept. Then , down some stone steps to cross a well- manicured lawn to the Balai Tari.
The members of the MCG gathered and chatted over a quick cup of tea/coffee with a platter of local kueh delicacies . Then, Datin Azanin formally welcomed and introduced herself and her dancers.
'Art is my passion . Art is absorbing and feeling ...' she enthused. She talked about her world of dance and work that has encompassed her life. Our ears pricked to absorb the passion she felt in her work and achievements.
Passion requires the patience, tenacity and the sweat to put her ideas together. Datin Azanin's work requires solid research and documentation to keep the rich cultural heritage in general of the region and specifically the performing arts of Malaysia alive.
Single- handedly, since 1980 she has pursued her dream; hence the birth of the Suasana Cultural Centre . This speaks volumes for her determination. Because she breathes and lives dance and the performing arts, she is a key figure to keep traditional heritage alive.
To our delight, she showed us some dance movements of the royal courts . Also, she talked about the shadow puppet ( wayang kulit) and the silat ( Malay art of self defence) , the makyong theatre, and the royal court dances accompanied by the classical music.
Some 'brave' ladies joined the dance demo. Fingers quivered and twirled, legs well positioned, bodies gently swayed. I was busy snapping some lovely movements.
In the short time spent together , Datin Azanin awakened our senses , raw as they may be. Speaking for myself! Really, a visit isn't enough to soak it all in.
Her reputation has garnered her acclaim from an international audience from countries like USA, Australia, Germany, Singapore and admirers far flung.
What's more, it's comforting to know she's mesmerising the young ones under her tutelage.
So, in the Azanin Dance Garden, cultural heritage has every good chance to live and thrive.