Sabahans in the UK Showcase Traditional Dance for Commonwealth Family Day Celebration
The Pangkis, a piercing shout of the lead male dancer, fills the hall. The sound of the gongs soar up gloriously. The dancers take their places and embrace the music. With grace and poise, they slowly sway rhythmically in sync to the rhythm of the gongs. Like the waves and wind pushing through the wild sea, they dance as if it was the only way to be. With every beat of the gong, one can almost feel, understand, the love story of a beautiful history, and just like that, enchantingly, we are 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 on the 22nd February 2019, 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.
The Kulintangan Dance Group highlighted the traditional dances of the 3 largest ethnic groups in Sabah. After some brief introduction from Maya and Christian, the dance group 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 their 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 hope that by participating in events such as the Commonwealth Family Day, they 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 tourist from the UK and Europe to choose Sabah, and Malaysia in general, as their next travel destination.
As for the dancers of 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.