Monday, May 10, 2010

All About Aswara

The National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (formerly known as the National Arts Academy) or Akademi Seni, Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara) was set up in 1994 with the objective of producing creative performers, nurturing artistic talent and developing leaders in the arts. Aswara which comes under the auspices of the Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage is the only institution of higher learning offering formal training in the performing arts, which is fully supported by the government. It provides teaching, learning, research and consultancy services in the fields of arts, culture and heritage.

Aswara offers three-year degree or diploma programmes in theatre, dance, fine arts, film & video, music and writing at its campus in Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. The dance faculty has been credited with producing some of the country's well known contemporary dancers and choreographers. Joseph Gonzales, one of Malaysia's leading dance educationists and choreographers is the dean of the dance faculty. Gonzales studied dance and theatre at the London Studio Centre and Bush Davies School in England. He played the part of Simon of Legree in the West End musical "The King And I" and was the first Malaysian to perform in West End.

Events such as dance performances, dialogues and workshops in contemporary, traditional, hip hop and jazz are organized regularly by teachers and students of the dance faculty. A free dance performance and workshop by the students was held recently on April 29 to commemorate World Dance Day (also known as International Dance Day). To cater to the growing number of students in Aswara, a new academic building (artist's impression shown above) is currently being built near the present campus. The next intake for new students is in July 2010. To know more about Aswara, check out their website at

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