Portuguese Dance


The history of Portuguese dance can be traced to the arrival of the merchants and soldiers in the 16th Century. The port of Malacca was crucial in the time of seafaring merchants, the spice trade and the silk trade. Many of the descendants of these merchants continue to live in Malacca retaining plenty of their own culture – food, religion, attire while simultaneously merging their some of their culture with those of the locals. The Portuguese settlements are still popular and inhabited by those with names like D Cruz, Lopez etc! Two of the most popular dances are the Branyo and Farapeirra.

The Branyo Dance is mainly favoured by the older generation of the Portuguese descendants. The male dancers wear Western-like costume while the female dancers wear baju kebaya and batik (sarongMusical instruments used are only rebana and violin. The beat and rhythm of the dance is similar to 'joget' (the Malay dance arts).

Meanwhile, Farapeira is for the youngsters. The dance is very cheerful and this resembles the cheerful life of the youngsters. It is performed by couples dressed in the costume of the traditional Portuguese descendants of Malacca. Modern musical instruments such as guitars and tambourines are used to make fast beats and rhythm.

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