The Warrior Dance of Iban Ngajat. This fearsome Sarawak warrior dances the Iban Ngajat, a homecoming dance performed by male warriors upon returning to the village after fighting battles.
The Hornbill Dance is a traditional dance of Sarawak's Kenyah women. Created by a Kenyah prince called Nyik Selong to symbolise happiness and gratitude, it was once performed during communal celebrations that greeted warriors returning from headhunting raids or during the annual celebrations that marked the end of each rice harvest season. Performed by a solo woman dancer to the sounds of the sape, beautiful fans made out of hornbill feathers are used to represent the wings of the sacred bird.
Sumazau is a traditional dance of Sabah's Kadazan people. Usually performed at religious ceremonies and social events, it is traditionally used to honour spirits for bountiful paddy harvests, ward off evil spirits and cure illnesses. Male and female dancers perform this steady hypnotic dance with soft and slow movements imitating birds in flight.
Another highly popular and entertaining traditional dance is Bamboo Dance. Two long bamboo poles are held horizontally above the ground at ankle-height. They are clapped together to a high-tempo drumbeat. Requiring great agility, dancers are required to jump over or between the poles without getting their feet caught.
Limbai is the dance of the Bajau people of the Kota Belud area on the west coast of Sabah. Three to four couples or more dressed in the traditional Bajau costumes with the women wearing the gold ornate sarimpak headpiece, circle about each other with the women coming to rest in a seated position with the men standing behind them. This dance is characterized by the graceful rotating wrist movements of the dancers. The music accompanying the Limbai is called bertitik. The instruments usually consist of a kulintangan which is a set of nine small kettle gongs and three hanging gongs and two double-headed drums called gandang. Limbai is performed during weddings and other social occasions.
Liliput is a Bisaya dance from the district of Beaufort. Liliput means `go-round`. It is mainly danced to cast away the evil spirit from a ‘possessed` person and then to ‘return’ the person’s spirit. The dancing will continue until the person’s spirit ‘returns’.
Angalang is a dance of the Murut. In olden days, this dance was performed in celebration of a successful headhunting party. Nowadays it is performed during wedding and other such occasions.
The performance consists of a solo male dancer doing the mahihialang, while a accompanied by a group of female dancers performing the Angalang. The male dancer is dressed as a warrior wearing the Murut bark jacket and loin cloth, wielding a sword known as a gayang, while the female dancers wear costumes known as limpur which is usually elaborately beaded and embroidered. On their heads is an ornate headpiece made of long beads in front and strands of smaller beads at the back. The man wears the feathered headpiece. This dance is normally accompanied by music played on six large gongs, twenty-five tagunggak or bamboo idiophones, and a drum called tambor.
Menangkuk piring is performed by the Kadazan Dusun of the Kota Marudu district in the north of Sabah. It is normally performed at wedding and other social occasions. Dancers perform with plates held in the palms of their hands. Graceful twists and turns of their wrists ensure that these plates never fall down. A fallen plate is a bad omen, especially if performed during a wedding celebration. Sometimes, lighted candles are placed in the centre of the plates, making the dance even more interesting.
Magunatip is a dance performed by the indigenous peoples of the interiors of Sabah, including the Kadazan Dusun of Tambunan, the Kwijau Dusun of Keningau and many of the Murut groups.
Magunatip is derived from the word atip meaning ‘to press between two surfaces’. Magunatip dancers need great skill and agility to dance among the bamboo poles, which are hit together to produce the rhythm of the dance. It is a dance of happiness performed at social occasions and the honour distinguished guests.
Mongigol Sumundai is a dance from the Kudat and Pitas districts, performed by the Rungus. It is performed boat as an entertainment during festivities as well as a ritual dance. Three to eight female dancers are led by a male dancer. The women keep their arms close to their sides throughout the dance, moving only their wrists, steps are also slow and gentle. The costumes worn by the female dancers is the traditional Rungus dress –an elaborately weaved top called Banat with a knee-length sarung called tapi, with a scarf-like piece attached to the bodice in the centre in front and through over the back and crossed over with many stands of beads. Sometimes they wear saring or brass arm bangles and also brass leg coils. The music accompaniment is produced by four gongs and a drum called tontog.
The Paina is a dance of the Kadazan Dusun from the Membakut areas on the west coast of Sabah. It is performed during thanksgiving celebrations to the rice spirit following the rice harvest. It is normally performed by a group of men and women. A characteristic of the men’s dancing includes arms raised in front with hands turning from the wrists, while the women dance with alternate heel to heel, toe to toe foot movements. The women may wear the typical black costume of the Membakut Kadazan which is decorated with shining buttons, while the men wear the sigar headcloth and a sandai hanging from the neck.
This is a Bajau dance from the Semporna district on the East Coast. The dance evolved from a myth about some people who went to look for sea shells. They encountered a strange animal and the actions of the Tarirai depict the evasive action they look.
Sumayau (Mongigol Tuaran)
Sumayau ( Mongigol Tuaran ) is a ritual dance of the Lotud Dusun fron Tuaran. It is performed during the Rumaha which is a ceremony for honouring the spirits of skulls, or the Mangahau rituals for the spirits of sacred jars. The Sumayau is performed by up to eight couples who are dressed in elaborate black ritual costumes with long sleeves and a long sash around the neck. The women wear a ceremonial headpiece with red feathers, while the men wear the sigar. The female dancers move the feet slowly, heel to heel, toe to toe, while a male dancer stands and shakes the girring or small handbells sown onto cloth, keeping in time with the music which is placed on gongs and a drum.
Sumazau Papar is a dance from the district of Papar in the west coast of Sabah. It is performed by both male and female dancers. The unique movements of the feet of the women heel meeting heel, toe meeting toe- makes this dances a delight to watch. The men dance with their arms outstretched in front of them, turning their wrists about. The women wear the traditional knee-length Papar costumes adorned with brass buttons and gold trimmings on the blouse, with a conical shaped hat called seraung placed over a head cloth called senaundung. The male dancers wear the headpiece called a sigar as well as a scarf or sandai over their costumes.
Adai-Adai is a dance evolved from a song sung by fishermen who originated from the Sipitang and Membakut districts in the South West of Sabah. Performed by both male and female dancers, this dance describes the activities of the fishermen and also the farmers of these areas. The dancers wear traditional Brunei clothes, and the accompanying music for the Adai-Adai is normally played on the gambus which is a lute of Arabic origin and popular among coastal Muslims, and the kompang, a frame drum. This dance is usually performed during important village festivals and also at wedding celebrations.
Bolak-Bolak is a traditional dance of the Bajau from the Semporna district on the East Coast, which has been handed down through generations. The Bolak-Bolak signifies the sound made when castanets held by a dancer is constantly clapped together, producing the rhythm of the music for the dance. This dance is traditionally performed during the presentation of brides wealth by the groom to the bride’s family as part of a wedding ceremony. The music accompaniment is played on the kulintangan ensemble in addition to gongs and drums.
Sumazau Penampang is the traditional dance of the Kadazan Dusun. It is performed during both ritual and social occasions. The dancers perform in pairs with the man leading the way. Both male and female dancers start off with arrhythmic movement on slightly bent knees and arms swinging by the sides. With a loud cry pangkis, the male dancer will lift his arms like wings outstretched and change his step to the alternating sole and toe movement with the women following suit, although in a much gentler manner. The dancers wear the traditional black costumes with gold trimmings. The women will have three rows of small brass rings strung on rattan called tangkong, and the tinggot which is a belt of old silver coins. The men wear a colourful embroidered headgear known as sigar.
The accompanying music is played by the sompogogungan ensemble consisting of six hanging gongs and a drum.
Daling-Daling is performed by the Suluk people who have settled on the east coast of Sabah. The name is said to have been derived from the English word ‘Darling’. Male and female dancers dance in pairs and this dance is characterized by the backward-wave fingers movements of the women wearing long spiked brass fingercaps called janggai. They also wear the kantiu trousers and the malkota head piece. The dancers perform to music played on a wooden xylophone known as gabang (gabbang), and a voilin, and accompanied by singing, either by a soloist or a chorus of four or more.
Titikas is a traditional dance of the Orang Sungai from the Kinabatangan district in Sandakan. It is performed as a welcome dance during official functions, as well as festive occasions in the villages.
The hands movements of the dancers copy the game of Ingki-Ingki, where a person places palm, from top to bottom and vice versa. The instruments used for the music is known as the Titikas ensemble, consisting of a nine-keyed gabang (gabbang) or xylophone and two large kantung vertical hardwood slit gongs that stand about a meter tall.
*courtesy of borneoexpress.com
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