Exploring the Elements of Main Zapin: A Preliminary Reports and Studies from Fieldwork in Johor





ethnographic report, main zapin, play-performance


This paper presents a preliminary report on an ethnographic study of the elements in Main Zapin (Zapin play-performance), based on extensive fieldwork conducted in Muar, Johor. The research employed a comprehensive ethnographic approach, utilizing a combination of observation, participant-observation, and non-structured interviews to delve into the multifaceted dimensions of Main Zapin performances. By engaging with the local community and performers, this study aimed to unravel the artistic elements and community dynamics that underpin this traditional dance form. The methodology incorporated rigorous observations to capture the nuances of Main Zapin performances. Participant-observation techniques immersed the researcher in the cultural context, fostering a deeper understanding of the art form. Additionally, non-structured interviews were conducted to gather rich qualitative data, enabling the exploration of personal perspectives, experiences, and insights of individuals involved in Main Zapin. The incorporation of ethnographic techniques and non-structured interviews allowed for a holistic and in-depth examination of Main Zapin, enriching our understanding of its artistic expressions and cultural significance. Through this paper, the author aim to shed light on the diverse and vibrant aspects of Main Zapin, offering insights into the artistic elements and the lived experiences of the community. Through the utilization of an ethnographic approach and the incorporation of non-structured interviews, this research undertakes a thorough investigation of the various elements of Main Zapin. These elements, when examined collectively, enhance the artistic richness, cultural significance, and community engagement associated with Main Zapin. By shedding light on these aspects, this paper contributes to the preservation, appreciation, and documentation of this distinctive dance tradition.


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Author Biography

Hafzan Zannie Hamza, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris

Hafzan Zannie Hamza is currently serves as a dance lecturer at the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia. He also serves as the Associate Manager for NusPARC in Kuala Lumpur and part-time lecturer at National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA).  Hafzan holds a Master of Arts degree (Performing Arts-Dance) from the Dance Department, University of Malaya.  He is trained in Malay traditional dances and Malay martial arts, and has performed in various dance performances and workshops in Malaysia and abroad.  His main research focuses on Malay dances and dance of the maritime communities along the Malacca Straits coastline and the Sulu Seas. He has done extensive ethnographical research and published on dances of the Sea Bajau (Bajau Laut) community in Sabah since 2006, and more recently was the Production Editor for the 3rd Proceedings of the Symposium (2015) of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) Study Group on Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (PASEA). In 2015 he served as external examiner for the Diploma and Bachelor of Dance programs at the National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA). He is a recognized adjudicator for schools, universities and national dance competitions. He is also one of the authors for the dance textbook for Arts School Malaysia.


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How to Cite

Hamza, H. Z. (2023). Exploring the Elements of Main Zapin: A Preliminary Reports and Studies from Fieldwork in Johor. Jurai Sembah, 4(1), 9–20. https://doi.org/10.37134/juraisembah.vol4.1.2.2023