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We seem to be in middle of an arts Renaissance right here in Malaysia!

With events such as George Town Festival 2017 that kicked off a few days ago and Rain Forest World Music Festival that came to an end on July 16, local artists are now bestowed with the opportunity of showcasing their talents to an international audience. 

Adding to the budding arts scene, the KL International Arts Festival 2017 (KLIAF 2017) provides the perfect recluse for city-dwellers to enjoy an international standard of performing arts, exhibitions and workshops without missing out on a day of their busy corporate schedules.

Read also: Five International Art Events This Year You Wouldn't Want To Miss

In its third year, the KL International Arts Festival will be officially launched on August 31, 2017, and will feature more than 50 music, dance, theatre, visual arts and literature events.

Organised by DiverseCity, the event will take place in various venues around Kuala Lumpur including the Auditorium DBKL, Panggung Bandaraya, NU Sentral and Damansara Performing Arts Center to name a few.

Here are some of the not-to-be-missed highlights of the KL International Arts Festival 2017.

Che Malambo

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The Malambo is a traditional dance form from Argentina performed solely by men with fast paced footwork (Zapeteo) inspired by the rhythm of galloping horses. Directed by French choreographer and former ballet dancer, Gilles Brinas, Che Malambo will excite audiences with their precise footwork and rhythmic stomping as 12 gauchos come together to bring fiery Malambo traditions to a contemporary stage.

Entranced: An evening with a ghost

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Entranced is a haunting weave of dance, based on the Southeast Asian trance ritual and the ancient Japanese Noh drama traditions of restraint and potential. The choreography, visual mapping, soundscapes and set installations together create ghostly sounds and visuals of entranced love between living and non-living, mortals and immortals.

Main Zapin

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A crowd pleaser, Main Zapin will showcase the 14 forms of Zapin found in the country. Once performed exclusively for religious ceremonies, the Zapin has over years become a form of entertainment, especially at social gatherings. The National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA) will reprise this traditional Malay dance with Arabic influence in a 90-minute performance, showcasing the stamina and skill of the performers.

Bon Voyage!

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Inspired by the journey of the luxe train, Orient Express, Bon Voyage tells the tale of three travellers from different countries who try to communicate with each other despite their cultural and linguistic barriers. Suitable for all ages, the drama uses comic interpretation and clown techniques to mime the conversation between the passengers.

A Retrospective

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Presented by a master, A Retrospective, will feature selected artworks by Yeoh Jin Leng, one of Malaysia’s oldest living artist who continues to produce art works. Along with being a veteran artist, he has also represented Malaysia as an artist and cultural ambassador in ASEAN Conferences on Art and Art Education and has had his work represented at National Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur, the Singapore Museum of Art and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Cornel, Ithaca.


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With singer Sean Ghazi on lead vocals and a 10-piece ensemble of some of the finest young Malaysian musicians led by music director Nish Tham, Tarakucha! proudly explores Malaysia’s musical heritage with humour, class and pizzazz. This jazz performance that also features the voice of Ida Mariana, will perform to classic songs from iconic entertainers of the yesteryear such as P. Ramlee as well some newly-written original compositions.

Letter’s End - Wolfe Bowart

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Acclaimed theatre clown, Wolfe Bowart, who made his Malaysian debut at KLAF 2016 with his enchanting LalaLuna, is back again by popular demand with a new fun-filled act – Letter’s End. The act that begins with the falling of a toy from a torn parcel escalates to sneezing mops, gift bearing storks, trees growing out of shoes and long-lost letters telling their stories ultimately changing the life of one man forever.

2020:  Futurists’ Diaries

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2020: Futurists’ Diaries explores the idea of mobility and time travel via a narrative of clones receiving diaries of great thinkers and creators from different times across history. How will the clones react to the information in the diaries? This simple narrative examines the imploring question of humanity in a creative style.

The KL International Arts Festival will be officiated by the Prime Minister on August 31, 2017.

For more information, visit the DiverseCity official website.

(Photos: KLIAF 2017)

Ever wondered what it takes to organise an international arts and culture event? We spoke to the Festival Director of RWMF to uncover the truth.  

Tags: Diversecity, Local Artists, International Artists, KLIAF2017, KL International Arts Festival 2017