“Si Kembang Cina”, Commonly referred to is a Southeast Asian dance form known as Mak Inang. This “traditional” dance is said to have originated from Malaysia, and belongs to the Malay community. Apparently, the music accompanying this dance style was composed by Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca. The movements and music of the dance are so graceful and are suitable for court performances. 

Inang, asli, zapin, and joget are a few of Malaysia’s traditional musical and dance forms. The Inang and Asli, which are native to the Malay peninsula and northern Sumatra, are regarded as the “original” Malay rhythms. The Zapin and Joget are examples of “adopted” Malay dances, having been influenced by other cultures that have long since occupied this area through trade or conquest. Furthermore, this dance is renowned for its extremely graceful foot movements. In addition, the music used in this dance has been heavily influenced by Chinese culture.

a. History/origin of the Mak Inang:

According to the cultural history of Malaysia, this dance was apparently created to be performed as a form of entertainment in the royal palace especially during functions. Furthermore, over the years this dance style has gradually evolved, and is now commonly referred to as “Inang”. In addition, these days this dance is commonly performed during auspicious functions such as a wedding reception.

b. Costumes used in the Mak Inang:

The costumes worn in this dance style varies according to the gender, and they are as follows:

1. For males:

The attire worn includes the Baju Melayu, sampan, a form of sarong and the songkok, a traditional cap.

2. For females:

The attire worn includes the Baju Kurung, Baju Kebaya, sampan, selendang i.e. a shawl, and flower on the head known as “cucuk sanggul”.

c. Music involved in the Mak Inang:

Traditional Malay musical instruments such as the rebana and the gendang are used in this dance. The dance has a remarkable soundtrack that is considered to have been created by Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca’s command.

Traditional music is frequently performed on the gendang, rebana, kompang, violin, accordion, harmonium, flute, rebab, and gambus, among other instruments. Further demonstrating the hybrid nature of Malay culture, many of these instruments are not native to the area. Guitars can be used as traditional music is further adapted and incorporated into the realm of popular music.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Mak Inang:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of extremely graceful foot movements. Furthermore, the performers on a few occasions hold long scarves in their hands while performing. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “traditional” dance is mainly performed in Malaysia.

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