ULEK MAYANG- MALAYSIA
Performed mainly “to invoke the spirits of the sea” is a Southeast Asian dance form known as Ulek Mayang. This “classical” dance is said to have originated from the state of Terengganu located in Malaysia. Apparently, this dance style is said to have been based on popular folklore revolving around a sea princess and a fisherman’s love story. Furthermore, this dance is accompanied by a song which explains in details the love story involving the sea princess and the fisherman.
a. History/origin of the Ulek Mayang:
Apparently, this dance style has been created using a popular folklore revolving around a sea princess and a fisherman as a template. According to this folklore, the sea princess managed to abduct the soul of the fisherman since she was madly in love. It was this abduction that led to the fisherman losing consciousness. In response, out of deep concern for his well being, a few friends of the fisherman approached a “Bomoh” (i.e. a traditional medical practitioner) to find the solution to this problem. It was while the Bomoh was trying to regain the soul of the fisherman that the sea princess and five of her siblings made an appearance, and a battle between the two parties ensued. This battle continued right until the the eldest sea princess decided to put an end to it by stating “ I know your origins, let those from the sea return to sea, and those from the land return to the land”. Thus the battle ended with the return of the soul of fisherman. It was therefore to celebrate the return of the fisherman’s soul that this dance was created.
b. Costumes used in the Ulek Mayang:
The costumes used in this dance style basically include a headdress and a flowing yellow sash.
c. Music involved in the Ulek Mayang:
The musical instruments used in this dance style mainly include drums, gong, violin, and accordion. In addition, the music is accompanied by a specially written song also called “Ulek Mayang” that describes the folklore related to the sea princess and the fisherman.
d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Ulek Mayang:
In terms of technique, the performers make use of graceful movements to invoke the spirits of the sea. Furthermore, the performers dance to a specially written song that describes in detail the legend related to the sea princess and the fisherman. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “classical” dance is mainly performed in the state of Terengganu in Malaysia.