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10 Malaysian Women On The Importance Of International Women’s Day

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DIVYA LEE NAIR

Dancer

Women have the ability to play multiple vital roles that are essential in nurturing their personal surroundings and communities. My movements are a reflection of nature, people, and stories that surround me. Fourteen years in classical ballet and more than 15 years of practising Indian classical dance have led to my experimentation of contemporary Asian dance.

There is definitely gender inequality in dance. More women than men study fine arts, but men still dominate when it comes to decision-making roles or award-winning works. In terms of dance choreography, there is still the belief that women should only be subjected to more feminine dance moves rather than those that are considered “not feminine”. However, with the growing movement of feminisim, I can now be more assertive and less worried about the message that I’d like to portray. As a female performer, our bodies are always subjected to scrutiny. But, a dancer’s body is her voice. Much like other forms of activism, we use our bodies as instruments of expression.

The lines of gender separation, in terms of gender-specific roles, are usually blurred in dance. This means that I get to play various identities with strength, confidence, and power. It is also through dance that a woman’s sensuality is truly celebrated, and is what sets her apart from her male counterparts. We are a force to be reckoned with.

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