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Dance Lecture by Bilqis Hijjas : Many Crossroads: the Rise of Contemporary Dance in Malaysia

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
  3–4 p.m.

Location: Arts Building Performance Lab, ARTS 166
  Parking Information

Category: Lecture



Lecture by Bilqis Hijjas, dance activist, producer and writer from Malaysia
Many Crossroads: the Rise of Contemporary Dance in Malaysia
Bilqis introduces American dance practitioners to the diversity, context, trends and opportunities of contemporary dance in Southeast Asia.

In the last decade, Southeast Asia’s contemporary dance scene has boomed, with exciting young artists picked up by international arts circuits, the rise of local dramaturge and creative producers, and greater opportunities for performance in regional and national festivals. Funding, however, is largely available only through bilateral cultural organisations. This has led to the dominance of cross-cultural collaborative projects, setting best practice examples on a global level.

However, this region of ten countries straddling the Equator is so complex that it is difficult for outsiders to grasp these implications. This talk will give an introductory snapshot of Southeast Asian contemporary dance generally, and Malaysian contemporary dance specifically, introducing key artists, their themes and preoccupations, the web of their collaborations and influences, and the strategies enabling them to adapt and thrive in the current economic climate. The talk may touch on themes of hybridity, gender, diaspora and transnationalism, contemporaneity from a basis of traditional and classical dance, the influence of approaches like American modern dance, German minimalism, conceptualism, classical ballet, and the use of contemporary dance as a political tool in the construction of the modern nation.

Amission is free and open to the campus or public. No late seating.
Though admission is free, a ticket is required. One ticket per person will be distributed at the venue, one hour before the concert. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

Bilqis Hijjas writes about dance, produces, teaches and performs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Bilqis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Harvard University, a Masters in Applied Anthropology from Australian National University, and a Graduate Diploma in Choreography from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. She lectures in dance criticism at the Dance Department of the University of Malaya.
Currently the President of MyDance Alliance, a non-profit membership organization supporting dance in Malaysia, Bilqis drives advocacy, networking, and capacity building for local dance practitioners. She has produced the popular Dancebox performance series, was artistic director of MyDance Festival 2011 and 2013, and co-curator of Malaysian dance showcase Teak Tari in the DiverseCity KL International Arts Festival in 2015. She edits a fortnightly newsletter for Malaysian dance, and has organized local workshops for international artists, dance community downhill meetings, and projects mentoring emerging contemporary dance choreographers.
Bilqis also directs the dance program at private arts centre Rimbun Dahan, which offers residencies for international contemporary dance choreographers collaborating with Malaysian and Southeast Asian dance artists. Since 2006, she has produced numerous dance performances in theaters all over the Klang Valley, as well as the occasional Dancing in Place weekend of site specific works at Rimbun Dahan. She also run  the annual Southeast Asian Choreolab for emerging contemporary dance choreographers from the region, which takes place at Rimbun Dahan mid-year, facilitated by international choreographers.
Bilqis is also the Support & Development network co-chair of World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific, for which she edits the biannual magazine Asia Pacific Channels, and coordinated the masterclass program of the WDA Global Summit in Angers, France, in 2014. She represents Malaysia, and Southeast Asia, at various international performing arts meetings for producers, programmers and critics.
In 2015, Bilqis started Critics Republic, an online platform to encourage the growth of performing arts criticism in Malaysia. All her own writing about dance can be read on her blog KLDanceWatch, and some has also appeared in Tanzconnexions, Asia Dance Channel, and The B Side. Bills’ visit to California in February 2015 is supported by the Asian Cultural Council.

Photo: Madu, Nadhirah Razid: Maria Devonne and Dalila binti Abdul Samad in Nadhirah Razid's 'Madu', at Dancing in Place 2016, Rimbun Dahan.

MyDance Alliance, support organisation for dance in Malaysia:
Ribbon Dahan, private centre for art, architecture & the environment:
World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific, networking and supporting Asia-Pacific dance practitioners:
KLDanceWatch, all Bilqis Hijjas' dance writing:
Critics Republic, encouraging performing arts criticism in Malaysia:

Parking: Complimentary permits available at the Kiosk.  
Information: (951) 827-3245,    

Support provided, in part, by  the Asian Cultural Council, UCR Southeast Asia: Text Ritual and Performance (SEATRiP) and the UCR Center for Ideas and Society.

Open to: General Public
Admission: Free
Sponsor: Dance Department

Contact Information:
Kathy DeAtley
(951) 827-3245