Held on 18–19 February 2023


Azrin Abdul Rahim

Azrin Abdul Rahim

Executive Director of Era Dance Theatre Ltd

Azrin Abdul Rahim started in the arts industry as a cultural production consultant in 1989 and has introduced many multi-racial and fusion works through various collaborations with local and foreign arts groups. This led to major productions staged at the Esplanade Theatre, Esplanade Concert Hall and Kallang Theatre. Besides being an avid silat instructor, Mr Azrin also develops scriptwriting programmes to hone the creative writing skills of his students.

Since 2001, he has been a corporate trainer, offering leadership, teamwork and corporate training for companies. He has vast experience both in conducting programmes for students to professional companies.

He holds a Msoc Sci in professional counselling and is trained in treatment protocol for aggression, clinical risk management and eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR) and Biofeedback. He is currently working on movement therapy as an alternative to speech therapy. This technique incorporates silat and breathing techniques.

Session: The Use of Malay Dance in a Wisma Geylang Serai Community Project

Photo of Charmaine Tan

Charmaine Tan

Senior Assistant Director, Healthy Ageing Department, Agency for Integrated Care

Charmaine is the programme lead for the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) Wellness Programme. She was part of the team that initiated AIC’s partnership with the National Arts Council in 2014. Since then, this collaboration has introduced a range of visual arts, creative movement and music-based activities to the Community Care sector which cares primarily for frail seniors. It has also developed arts-based training and resources for both Community Care staff and volunteers. She is interested in connecting with like-minded partners and can be reached at charmaine.tan@aic.sg.

Session: Roundtable Discussion: the Use of Dance in Sectors Outside of the Arts

Edwin Wee

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Decadance Co

Edwin is the co-founder and artistic director of Decadance Co. As a choreographer and performer, Edwin has directed, curated, designed and choreographed more than 20 staged and site-specific original productions which have premiered locally and abroad, since he graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. He joined a local dance company, Arts Fission, in 2008 and was appointed Rehearsal Director in 2011 and Artistic Director for their youth productions from 2012–2018.

Edwin has over 13 years of experience in bringing the benefits of dance to elder care. In Decadance Co, Edwin has produced a unique dance program, decasilver, for seniors that is tailored to improve their mood, mobility and mind. Decasilver has been part of many care centres’ programming since 2019.


Hasyimah Harith

Malay Dance Practitioner and Company Manager, P7:1SMA Ltd.

Hasyimah Harith (Singapore) is a Malay-Muslim female artist that performs, choreographs and teaches Malay folk dance. Using her body as the starting point, Hasyimah works with the Malay identity and female sexuality, as a way to reclaim the agency over her body. Her working method involves strategies such as pleasure, vulnerability and confession. She believes in the power of the body to confront and overcome the conditioned shame that is often attached to female sexuality.

Hasyimah is also a Visual Arts educator and Company Manager of P7:1SMA Ltd., a dance company formed in 2016 that uses dance to confront and reimagine the Malay’s relationship to their identity.


Assoc. Prof. Liang Peilin

Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature

Liang Peilin is an associate professor of theatre and performance studies at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests include performer training, puppetry and community engagement. Most recently she has focused on the integration of health and wellness care into the creative process of performance making in both professional and community contexts. Her works can be found in Theatre Topics, Research in Drama Education, Theatre Research International, Contemporary Theatre Review, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, and Performance Research, among other journals and edited collections. She is the author of Bodies and Transformance in Taiwanese Contemporary Theater (2020).


Melissa Quek

Head, School of Dance & Theatre

Melissa Quek is Head, School of Dance & Theatre at LASALLE College of the Arts and is also Programme Leader for the Diploma in Dance. She is a choreographer, performer and educator whose choreographic interest lies in investigating the body-subject. Melissa attempts to make contemporary dance more accessible through her writing of dance reviews and performance edu-packs. She also worked with Tan Ngiap Heng to create Singapore Dance Pioneers, a series of short 2-minute videos about the early dance scene in Singapore and currently designs and manages the NAC-MOE Strategic Partnership CCA (Ethnic Dance) to inspire young dancers with traditional dance forms.

Session: Sharing of Result of Interactive Session and Wrap Up of Day 1 Symposium , The Use of Malay Dance in a Wisma Geylang Serai Community Project

Cikgu Na’aim Pani

Educator & Veteran Malay Dance Choreographer

Cikgu Na’aim Pani is known and loved by many for his service as a Malay language teacher for over 50 years. As a retired teacher, he is currently active in offering Malay language and cultural enrichment programmes in schools.

Cikgu Na’aim is also an esteemed veteran, whose techniques and styles are rooted to the Malay-Sumatran dance elements. In his teenage years, he was an active member of Perkumpulan Seni; and represented his schools at the Singapore Youth Festivals. In the 1970s, he was selected as a dancer and choreographer of The Singapore National Dance Company, under the mentorship of Artistic Director Francis Yeoh. Notably, Cikgu Na’aim represented Singapore internationally in the 1972 Adelaide Festival, the Asian and SEA Games Cultural Festivals; and partake in cultural exchanges, to name a few. In 1989, Cikgu Na’aim founded Teater Tari Na’aim Pani which continues to participate in local and international festivals.

Today, Cikgu Na’aim takes on active roles as a choreographer, artistic director, stage manager, or director, for many local theatre productions and television programmes. In 2022, Cikgu Na’aim’s works include Bangsawan Dang Anum, Bangsawan Sang Nila Utama, and more.

Session: In-conversation: Malay Dance through the Decades

Dr. Noramin Farid (Soultari)

Choreographer, Arts Educator, Researcher

(Dr.) Noramin Farid (Soultari) is a choreographer, arts educator, and maritime Southeast Asian performing arts researcher.

A recipient of the 2017 Singapore Youth Award and the 2018 India-ASEAN Youth Awards, Amin is the curator of an online portal, ARKITARI, which documents maritime Southeast Asian dances. He is also the current president of a dance organisation, DIAN Dancers, and the founding member of Arki-Gen, a group focused on promoting discourse and research about Southeast Asian performing arts. Amin is an adjunct lecturer with Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Lasalle College of the Arts where he lectures on dance, identity and maritime Southeast Asian performing arts.


Osman Abdul Hamid

Osman Abdul Hamid

Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of NUS ILSA TARI

Osman Abdul Hamid (PBM) joined the People’s Association and the former Sriwana Malay Dance Group in 1979. He became the Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of the People’s Association Malay Dance Group and Era Dance Theatre Pte Ltd. Since 1995, Osman has produced highly acclaimed works with NUS Ilsa Tari which includes Imbas…Ampas (2010), Ilsa Revisited (2011), Contengan Hidup (2011), Akur…Menyerah Takdir (2012), Selamatkan Bumiku (2013) and Temasek Berbisik (2014).

Osman has represented Singapore at many ASEAN Performing Arts Festivals and overseas cultural programmes. In 1996, his dance item was selected by the National Arts Council to be featured in the 4th ASEAN Dance Festival. In recognition of his outstanding talents and dedication, Osman has been conferred the prestigious Singapore Youth Award (Service) in 1993 and the Young Artist Award (1994) by the National Arts Council. Under the tutelage of Osman, the People’s Association Talents won the Best Choreographer Award at the 5th Sabah International Folklore Festival in 2010. He has also represented Singapore as an Asian Dance Expert in the Asia Dance Committee 2011 till present. No doubt, Osman’s works have continued to inspire audiences with his unique vibrant choreography.


Patrick Piay

Patrick Piay

Assistant Director, Engagement & Participation, National Arts Council

Patrick is an Assistant Director (Engagement & Participation) with the National Arts Council and NAC scholar (in-service staff) who has been working in the arts & culture sector for over a decade. Since joining the NAC, he has contributed to establishing new arts initiatives, forged local and international partnerships, and played a role in developing a 5-year sectoral plan for Singapore’s visual arts sector (Published as part of NAC’s Our SG Arts Plan 2018–2022). In his current role with the Engagement & Participation division, Patrick contributes towards the development of NAC’s new 5-year blueprint (Arts Plan 2.0 2023–2027) and leads a team to encourage greater arts engagement and access within Singapore’s social sector and health sectors.

Session: Roundtable Discussion: the Use of Dance in Sectors Outside of the Arts

Photo of Mdm Som Said

Mdm Som Said

Founder and Artistic Director, Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts Ltd

Som Md Said (PBM) is a dynamic cultural ambassador for Singapore, who has thrilled local and international audiences with her choreography, costume designs and make-up artistry. Som received the Cultural Medallion award in 1987, and has been bringing Malay dance to international audiences since the 1970’s. She holds a degree in Dance Anthropology from Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ), Indonesia.

In 1983, she studied ‘The study of Asian Performing Arts’ in contemporary dance creativity under her Master the late Bagong Kussudiardja (PSBK – 1983). In addition, Som was awarded the Study course on Laban Notation in Solo (1989), Indonesia and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) Singapore (1990). She has also been recognised for her work with the nation’s children, winning the National Youth Award in 1979. In 1992, she received her PBM, ‘Pingat Bakti Masyarakat’ Award from the President of Singapore.

Som Md Said has more than 50 years of successful experience in promoting, producing, and directing dance, including founding Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts Ltd in 1997. Through Sri Warisan, she seeks to continue to play an expanded role in the promotion of culture and arts education. The Company aims to achieve greater professionalism and flexibility, as well as making the arts accessible to all.

Some of Som’s works include Lagenda Tun Fatimah (2005), Lagenda Raden Mas (2008), and Onak Samudera (2014). In 2022, Syukur 25 was staged to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts Limited.

Session: In-conversation: Malay Dance through the Decades

Suraya Suhairi

Suraya Suhairi

B.A (Hons) in Malay Studies

Suraya Suhairi is a recent graduate of NUS Malay Studies and the University Scholars Programme (USP). Her early encounters with Malay dance began in her formative school years. At NUS Ilsa Tari, she served as the President from 2019–2020, and took part in the conceptualisation and preparations of its annual dance productions. Suraya’s honours thesis explores the creative processes of Malay dance practitioners in Singapore; particularly in making dance productions on the theme of women. Intrigued by the ability of dance to mobilise discursive thoughts and expressions, she hopes for Malay dance to be a medium that explores perspectives; and open discussions on and for the community.

Session: Thesis Presentation: Malay Dance as a Platform for Social Discourse on Women

Dr Suriani Suratman

Dr Suriani Suratman

Senior Lecturer, NUS Malay Studies Department

Suriani Suratman, a social anthropologist, is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Malay Studies, and Convenor of the Minor in Gender Studies at the National University of Singapore. Her teaching covers areas on Malay culture and society pertaining to constructions of ethnic identities, lived experiences of families and households as well as gender relations. Her research focuses on Malay ethnic identities and the (re)production of portrayals of Malays, gender relations and inequalities in Malay families and households as well as politics of memory.


Dr Wu Xi Vivien

Dr Wu Xi Vivien

Assistant Professor Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, NUS

Dr Wu Xi Vivien is an Assistant Professor at Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS). Dr Wu is a secondary member of the Healthy Longevity Translational Research Program at NUS.

Dr Wu’s research interests focus on Chronic Disease Management for older adults and caregivers with technology, and Intergenerational Programs to promote Healthy Ageing in the Community. She has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers in high-impact international refereed SCI journals and book chapters. She has served as editor for International Nursing and Medical Journals.

Dr Wu has also won over 10 research grants from local and international organisations as the capacity of principal investigator and co-principal investigator. Currently, she is working on a Community-based e-health programme to empower older adults living with chronic diseases, and Community Dance Program to promote healthy aging. Her research expertise in the field of Aging has been recognised with international awards, such as, Interstellar Initiative for Healthy Longevity, by New York Academy of Sciences and Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, Asian University Alliance Scholars, both in 2020, and Emerging Nurse Researcher/Scholar Award by Sigma Theta Tau International in 2022, and Exemplary Community Partner Award by Lions Befrienders Service Association, Singapore in 2022.

Session: Roundtable Discussion: the Use of Dance in Sectors Outside of the Arts