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Sabah traditional dancers perform in London

KOTA KINABALU: The Royal Commonwealth Society has recently invited Sabahan Abroad UK to perform Sabahan traditional dances ‘Sumazau, Daling-Daling, Magunatip’ at Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Family Day 2019.

This Commonwealth Family Day is to celebrate diverse range of cultures and wide variety of art forms from across the Commonwealth. Hundreds of families with children attended the event to enjoy traditional performances from Commonwealth countries and folk stories from around the world.

The Pangkis, a piercing shout of the lead male dancer, filled the hall. The sound of the gongs soared up gloriously. The dancers took their places and embraced the music. With grace and poise, they slowly swayed rhythmically in sync to the rhythm of the gongs. Like the waves and wind pushing through the wild sea, they danced as if it was the only way to be. With every beat of the gong, one could almost feel, understand the love story of a beautiful history, and just like that, enchantingly, the audience were transported back to North Borneo – every essence of the beat speaks of the beauty of the home they call Land Below the Wind.

The Commonwealth Family Day Celebration at Westminster Abbey, London was a fun-filled family event showcasing great performances from various groups representing some of the Commonwealth countries. Performers included London’s Maori Choir with their traditional Fijian dance, sega dancers from Mauritius and classical Indian Kuchipudi dance.

The Kulintangan Dance Group from Sabahan Abroad UK had the honour of representing Malaysia.

They highlighted the traditional dances of the three largest ethnic groups in Sabah. After some brief introduction from Maya and Christian, the dancers performed the Penampang and Papar sumazau, followed by the Bajau’s famous courtship dance, endearingly

known as the Daling Daling. Their performance ended on a high with the Magunatip , a Murut tribal bamboo dance to celebrate the homecoming of victorious warriors. As the dancers took heir last pose, an abrupt wave of cheers and applause echoed the hall. They did their motherland proud!

The guests were then invited to try the Magunatip bamboo dance. Kids and adults happily volunteered to join and experience the fun.

The Kulintangan Dance Group, consisting of Alfred, Laura, Jessie, Izman, Marie, Joel, Leona, Fred and Denis, with Nelda acting as group manager, is a sub division of Sabahan Abroad UK, a non-

profit organisation based in England.

Sabahan Abroad UK hopes that by participating in events such as the Commonwealth Family Day, it can help promote Sabah’s cultural and social diversity at an international level.

The Kulintangan Dance Group are looking forward to being present at many future cultural and tourism related events. They hope by showcasing the cultural beauty of Sabah’s various ethnic groups, this will encourage more tourists from the UK and Europe to choose Sabah, and Malaysia in general, as their next travel destination.

As for the Kulintangan Dance Group, it was a surreal and proud moment to have been given the opportunity to represent their country and culture, and share the love of their heritage at the renowned Westminster Abbey. This is one experience they will treasure for a lifetime.

Sabahan Abroad UK believes this performance and activity can allow many visitors to pay more attention at the indigenous groups in Borneo. It is looking forward to being present at many other cultural and tourism related events in future and is confident the impacts of visual information and visual communication can be a great motivating factor to lead travellers with different cultural background to select Malaysia to be their travel destination.

Sabahan Abroad UK is a community organisation and a non-profit organisation based in  the United Kingdom. It is the first established community organisation in the United Kingdom  since 2000.

As of today, there are at least 700 Sabahans residing in the UK with 54 students under the scholarship of Public Service Department, Mara and self-sponsored.

The aims of the organisation are to create a sense of belonging for  many Sabahans who live in the UK through social gatherings, sports and festival celebrations.

Another aim is to promote Sabah’s cultural and social diversity by organising and participating in various cultural and social events in the UK. It hopes its events and activities in London, United Kingdom can help develop cultural tourism and offer new opportunity to promote Sabah cultural tourism in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Its ambition is to set up a cultural centre in London to enhance friendship, amity and understanding between Malaysia and the UK through cultural and education activities. It believes its

dedication towards this programme can help further develop established its cultural projects, introduce new opportunities to expand our Malaysian events for many visitors from the UK and Europe.

Source: Borneo Post Online | Feb 27, 2019