Death of a Malay-Muslim Female Dancer

Interview with Rahayu Sazali by Hasyimah Harith

When was your last Malay dance performance?

Pertandingan Tarian Rampaian Asli 2014. A competition in Malaysia in May 2014. Choreographed by Zul Belalang. Dance Item is called Zapin Madini. I am turning 34 this year.

What helps you decide to stop doing Malay dance professionally?

June 2014, Age 27. Religion, donning the hijab.

If I, Hasyimah Harith, want to continue practising and dancing Malay dance till 70 years old, what will you say to me?

Firstly, THANK YOU! Thank you for still thinking of wanting to continue practising and dancing Malay dance till you're 70!

My dance teachers have taught me to not only be a better dancer but a better person. They have watched me grow into the dancer I am and also the person I've become, who have taught me life lessons as they passed their passion down to me. The teachers who have taught us what they have learnt from their own teachers, upholding years of history and culture.

So be a teacher to our future dance generations Syimah.

Dance has also always been an outlet for me to express myself and sometimes also to escape from everyday life.

So, be an outlet to our future dance generations to run away from the stress of life too.

Dance studio, the place where I have spent years, hours, minutes and seconds, a place where I no longer visit now. But the memories I take with me, with those I called my lifelong friends, those who have been performing alongside with me on stage, a memory worth cherishing.

So, be a friend/family to our future dance generations and be that sweet memory.

And lastly, I remembered having bruises on my body for those intense training. And some bruises are just caused by my own carelessness. I remembered going to the doctors and getting a 5 days medical leave for not having enough rest. I remembered being out of breath after a rehearsal for a performance.

So, be healthy and take care Syimah. One of our assets is our body and may we continue to care for them as they age.

I am excited and honestly, a little impatient to see what you have in store for us in the future(haha). But mostly, I am grateful, to know that our children will still have a chance to learn Malay dance, as you're already on 'standby' to guide them.

The curtain may close as we age, but I now know the journey may not have to come to an end. So, here's a new beginning! 

Documented by Grace Baey
© 2021 Hasyimah Harith All Rights Reserved