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Date: 16-Oct-2011

Dancer Norbaizura Abdul Ghani had to train for an entire month, seven days a week and 14 hours a day for her classical Indian dance performance at the Selangor Young Talent Awards 2011.

However, all that training and dedication worked out well for Norbaizura as she bagged all three awards at the competition that she and her dance partner Mohd Yunus Ismail were up for.

Classical Indian dances are really difficult to learn and take years to master. Norbaizura, 25, performed her orongerrom (debut stage performance] in Bharatanatyam, becoming the first Malay woman in Malaysia to do so. "Some have questioned me about the religious elements in the dance, as I’m Muslim. But I only take the cultural aspect of the dance, not the religious side of it. I don’t think it should be an issue," said the dancer.

Norbaizura is a late blooiner when it comes to dance. She only started dancing when she was 18, and that was when she joined the National Academy Of Arts, Culture And l-Ieritage (Aswara), as a student. She is currentiy a lecturer at Aswara, specialising in classical Indian dances.

"Before that, I would only watch other people dance on TV, and I always enjoyed that. After I left secondary school, my sister recommended l join Aswara," she said.

"Before that, l would only watch other people dance on TV, and I always enjoyed that. After l left secondary school, my sister recommended 1 join Aswara," she said.

There, she learned many different types of dance, inclumng Malay, Chinese and Indian traditional dances, as well asballet and contemporary dance.

But when it was time for her to choose a major for her degree, there was only ever . one choice for Norbaizura, who says she was drawn to classical indian dance because of its uniqueness and high level of difli culty.

"When people see me perform, they’ve all been very encouraging, especially the other indian dancers, who often invite me to perform with them.

"Im not sure if a Malay girl would have been allowed to do so in the past,  but ihat shows how open we are now to each other’s cultures," she said.
— By lon Yee

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Dancer Norbaizura Abdul Ghani

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