Silat: martial arts in dance - a collaboration with Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts

11 August - 17 November 2021
NAFA Campus 3, C3-06-38

Silat is a form of martial arts that is used for both combative and ceremonial purposes. The origins of the word ‘Silat’ comes from ‘Si Elat’ which carries the meaning of efforts to confuse, deceive, trick the opponent. The distinctive forms of Silat with other Asian martial arts, such as kung fu, taekwondo, or karate, lie in the cultural aspect. Silat is not only for combative purposes, but can also be transformed into a dance form with the addition of traditional musical instruments. Moreover, Silat is a form of spiritual training. Spirituality in Silat focuses on the development of a person internally and externally, which in turn enhances one's discipline, morals and self-identity.

As part of the module called Dance Techniques (Asian Dance and Movements), this academic collaboration involved local practitioners from Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts, a performing arts company founded by renowned Cultural Medallion recipient, Madam Som Said. The course was taught by Madam Som Said, along with Silat Master Fareed Sallim. The lessons combined theory and practical, as well as a field trip for Year-2 students and culminated in a final class presentation of Bandong Sihat, Silat Serantau, bersanding (Malay wedding) ceremony, and group presentations of modern interpretations.


Students performing the Silat movements for a typical bersanding (Malay wedding) ceremony, including the use of kompang (hand-frame drum)

Performance by a group of students incorporating traditional elements of Silat into a modern interpretation of the dance form

Students demonstrating the iconic gestures and movements used in Silat dance

Silat Perpaduan – Unity in Silat, 17 November 2021