M ALAYSIAN-born Azanin Ezane Ahmad swept on stage with her home-grown dance troupe
to perform excerpts from the Malay version of the Ramayana at the recent Cambodian
Red Cross Charity Ball.
Azanin and two of her colleagues from the Suasana Cultural Center in Kuala Lumpur
depicted scenes from Sita Dewi and Putri Sa'dong, ancient dances newly choreographed
by Azanin who has devoted her life to preserving Malaysia's cultural heritage.
"Our children don't even know our own legends," said Azanin who added that
she felt that her own culture was so far behind that of Cambodia.
Azanin, an economics graduate, took on the cause of preserving her culture in the
mid-seventies and has since gained world-wide recognition with her renditions of
traditional Malay dances.
When asked to describe her spirit, Azanin said: "Nirvana, I suppose. I feel
such inner peace when I dance, its no longer me. I feel an affinity with the gods."
Azanin's dance troupe's trip to Cambodia was made possible by support from Tourism
Malaysia, the YTL Corporation and the Malaysian Embassy.
The Charity event, presided over by Her Majesty the Queen, raised more than $120,000
for the Cambodian Red Cross which will be used for emergency flood and drought relief,
and support for internally displaced refugees.
More than 750 people attended the event.