Due to its strategic location, Malacca ascended to become a major trading centre, back in the 1500s. It welcomed the arrival of the Portuguese who brought along their culture together with their products. One of them was Branyo, a dance they introduced, which was adapted by the locals to what is known as the Joget.One of the prominent ones is the Joget Serampang Laut. This dance involves a lot of coordination between the hands and feet as well as between both male and female.
The basic hand movement is called an ‘incomplete fist’ where the tips of the thumb and forefinger on both hands touch each other and the remaining fingers are curled in. The female dancers keep their elbows low to portray elegance while the male dancers keep them high as a sign of strength.Then there is the ‘terancang’, which is energetic and upbeat. The upper body has to face a 45-degree angle with one leg pointed outwards in the same direction as the body is then crossed over the other leg. In this movement, the hands do not change positions.The female wear a ‘kebaya labuh’, matched with a songket sarong.
Songket is a rich fabric with gold thread patterns weaved through it. There are brooches down the front of the traditional blouse. Other ornaments include earrings, necklace and a gold hairpiece called ‘cucuk sanggul’. A fabric is draped over one shoulder, across the body. The male dancers wear the traditional ‘baju Melayu’ with a ‘sampin’ around their waists and a ‘songkok’ on their heads.