Traditional Dances are many in Malaysia. I take Sumazau, for example, which is an inherited dance practiced by the KadazanDusun people. Only Sabah has KadazanDusun as one of the various ethnics in Sabah. Moreover, this ethnic is claimed to be the major community living in all districts of Sabah. The dance basically has a story to be told. The patterns of the dance are unique which tell the story of its existence perfectly. When all paddy grains are harvested, it is time for the KadazanDusun people to give thanks to gods (before Christian and Islam interfering the beliefs among them). Right now, they are either Christians or Moslems who give thanks to Allah for their precious harvest. However, this is not the issue I’m talking about as this is just a modernization to the traditional custom.
Giving thanks has to be done in a very flamboyant celebration which Sumazau dance takes place. The dance is very simple to perform. The male dancer spreads his arms like the eagle’s wings, bends his knees a bit and dances the patterns by the rhythm of the gong. The female dancer, on the other hand, also spreads her arms but brings her arms in a bit like the chicken’s wings, bends her knees and dances like the male dancer does. Every district in Sabah has different Sumazau postures but the basics like above are still the same. The difference is to add uniqueness of one district.
The story of this dance is sad. The KadazanDusun people, as it is told by the grand people to their grand-sons and daughters, were having the plaque and draught. They had neither rice nor other foods. The animals were dead. The people were getting less in number. They were dying. Because of these, a young maiden sacrificed herself on the altar of sacrifices before the God (the people called Him as Kinorohingan). Her sacrifices brought happiness to the people. She had claimed, before she sacrificed herself, that she wanted all of them to dance to appease the Kinorohingan. The dance was Sumazau.
If you want to know more of this dance, simply google to its website, or simply have holidays at Sabah, or simply watch the dance in the Youtube.com, or just come to watch Unduk Ngadau 2009 this end of May at Kadazan Dusun Community Association Hongkod Koisaan in Penampang Sabah.