Off Stage

Dad is his dance teacher and mentor

Dinie Daisuki Osman (far left) with his fellow dancers during rehearsals.
Dinie Daisuki Osman (far left) with his fellow dancers during rehearsals.PHOTO: ST FILE

As a young boy, Dinie Daisuki Osman followed his father to his dance practices on weekends, but spent most of the time horsing around with his brothers in the studio compound.

It took him a while to fall in love with Malay dance but Dinie, now 27, is following firmly in his father's footsteps.

The full-time dancer is part of Era Dance Theatre's upcoming Kacip Mas Dulang Permata. Now in its sixth edition, the show features the dance company's dancers and choreographers.

"Watching dance shows inspired me to move like the dancers I saw on stage," says Dinie, who was married last September. "I was attracted to the energy the dancers exuded."

His father, Osman Abdul Hamid, who turns 54 this year, is the artistic director of Era Dance Theatre. His mother, also 54, is working as an administrator with a kindergarten.

Dinie, the eldest of five sons, says of his father: "He's my dance teacher and mentor. I've learnt dancing under him in Era Dance Theatre, in the Malay dance group in junior college as well as the Malay dance group at the National University of Singapore. I'm still learning from him now."

  • BOOK IT / KACIP MAS DULANG PERMATA

  • WHERE: 90 Goodman Road, Black Box, Goodman Arts Centre

    WHEN: Friday and Saturday, 3 and 8pm

    ADMISSION: $20. For tickets, call Hazwany on 9829-9410 or go to kmdp@eradancetheatre.com

How did you get into dance? What was your first performance like?

As my father is a dancer-choreographer, I guess it was natural for me to pick it up from him.

I can't pinpoint my first performance but I think it was the Chingay Parade in 2000. I wasn't really dancing, just moving around to certain steps with my prop - a spear.

When did you realise you had fallen in love with dance?

I started dancing more regularly during my junior college days and continued to dance regularly in university. I think it was then that I found myself always looking forward to dance and I really enjoyed the practices and rehearsals.

What is the strangest or most memorable thing that has happened to you during a show?

It was while performing in a duet in a school show. Both of us had forgotten the steps, but we couldn't stop dancing and trying to catch the next steps. It was a strange feeling because we just kept on dancing and reacting to the music.

What is the best advice you have received from your seniors?

"If you want to dance, dance. Just give it your all." It's about giving 100 per cent to what you are doing and doing your best.

What are your pre-show rituals?

Before a show, I like to do a mental visualisation of the whole performance. I like finding some quiet time to let myself focus.

What is the harshest criticism you have received and how did you deal with it?

During a post-show reception once, someone said my performance was soul-less and my expression of dance was non-existent.

It was harsh but I thought it was justified as I too felt I could have done better. It spurred me to work on my performance, my technique and my expression.

What are some misconceptions people have about Malay dance?

Some people think that Malay dance is too soft in its movements. But in those soft movements lie technique and gracefulness that require strength and control.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Dad is his dance teacher and mentor'. Print Edition | Subscribe