Starting with strong foundations in traditional Malay dances such as zapin, ronggeng, inang and serampang 12, together with the traditional Malay martial art of silat, NUS Ilsa Tari experiments with both traditional and contemporary Malay dance to push the boundaries of creativity and modernity.

The word ilsa is derived from the Malay word asli or native, which signifies a bold new artistic direction for radical creativity in Malay dance while acknowledging the importance of the past. Today, NUS Ilsa Tari plays a part in the evolution of a Malay dance form relevant to the times.

Under the tutelage of Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Osman Abdul Hamid, the Peoples’ Association Malay Dance Group’s choreographer and Singapore's Young Artist Award recipient, each dance engages with modern themes not usually dealt with in Malay dance, such as women’s empowerment, metaphysics of the soul and multiculturalism.

Key Past Events

  • 2012Performance at George Town Festival
  • 2018NUS Festival highlight Titian Naluri

Key Past Achievements

  • 2010Production of the Year, Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards, for Fitrah (NUS Arts Festival)
  • 2014Production of the Year, Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards, for Selamatkan Bumiku - Bumi Merekah ... Langit Membelah (Save My Earth)
  • 2015Group of the Year, Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards
  • 2015Production of the Year, Tan Ean Kiam Arts Awards, for Temasek Berbisik - Whispers of Temasek

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Osman Abdul Hamid

Artistic Director & Resident Choreographer

Osman Abdul Hamid joined the People’s Association and the former Sriwana Malay Dance Group in 1979. He became the Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of the People’s Association Malay Dance Group and Era Dance Theatre Pte Ltd. Since 1995, Osman has produced highly acclaimed works with NUS Ilsa Tari which includes Imbas…Ampas (2010), Ilsa Revisited (2011), Contengan Hidup (2011), Akur…Menyerah Takdir (2012), Selamatkan Bumiku (2013) and Temasek Berbisek (2014).

Osman has represented Singapore at many ASEAN Performing Arts Festivals and overseas cultural programmes. In 1996, his dance item was selected by the National Arts Council to be featured in the 4th ASEAN Dance Festival. In recognition of his outstanding talents and dedication, Osman has been conferred the prestigious Singapore Youth Award (Service) in 1993 and the Young Artist Award (1994) by the National Arts Council. Under the tutelage of Osman, the People’s Association Talents won the Best Choreographer Award at the 5th Sabah International Folklore Festival in 2010. He has also represented Singapore as an Asian Dance Expert in the Asia Dance Committee 2011 till present. No doubt, Osman’s works have continued to inspire the audiences with his unique vibrant choreography.