Faisal Asyraf

Modified 2 May 2021, 2:05 pm

MALAYSIANSKINI | In championing a once-banned traditional dance form in the conservative state of Kelantan, prominent Mak Yong dancer Rosnan Abdul Rahman has had to tread carefully as he ends up facing criticism from both sides even while battling to keep the art alive.

He was instrumental in getting Mak Yong unbanned in 2019. However, there was a compromise - changes were made to the content and state regulations specified how Mak Yong could be performed.

Among the regulations was the removal of some elements in the dance which was said to be against Islamic teachings and only allowing an ensemble of the same gender to be on stage.

According to Rosnan, 49, some in traditional dance circles are unhappy with the changes as they think that allowing Mak Yong to be unbanned by sacrificing its original form is a sin to the art itself.

"The original version of Mak Yong will not go extinct. Some art practitioners in Kelantan and Kuala Lumpur have played the polemic that the original Mak Yong is dead.

"They are not happy with the syariah-compliant version, they want the original version and I was accused of ruining Mak Yong.

"[..] they have to understand that I have to adhere to the Kelantan state's entertainment enactment. To me, when the state government allowed Mak Yong to be performed in public again, that was ...