A Simple Me, Daring For Ultimatums

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Traditional Dance???

Sumazau Dance

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.


  1. hype mark aka Hercules...
    First of all I very proud to be Malaysian. I can learn many things especially about dances within malaysia It self. Like you hercules, you are from sabah so I when I read your blog regarding the sumazau dance, I am so eager to learn that dance.hehehe..I know that I am not really good at it. the most important thing is that knowing other culture dances makes me feels very happy. not all people on the the other side of the world have the opportunity like me to get know other culture, heritage and dances. I realize that the dance it self tell us it own story and its really make me enjoy the art of the dance...

  2. Hi Mark…are you sure you had perform this dance on stage? Oh my God! I couldn’t believe it! Why? Because I think this dance has gracefully steps that I cannot imagine you could do that! However, I would really love to learn this traditional dance. I never have the chance to learn Sabahan’s traditional dances. Living in peninsular Malaysia really blocks my chance to know more about Borneo’s dances. I really eager to learn this Sumazau dance since I am interested in its history. It is a dance for thanking God for harvest festival, right? Reading your blog about this dance remind me of Kelantan’s cultural dance – Mak Yong. Sadly to say, it was abolished because people claimed that this dance had a spiritual believe which can drag people believes towards religion, especially Islam because most of the performer are from Malay. Other than that, The Ulik Mayang dance from Terengganu also had been abolished for the same reason. The Ulik Mayang dance is like worship for the angel of the sea. Usually it is perform by the fisherman’s family who praying for the angel to give them a lot of returns (fish) and protect them from any danger at the sea.
    I believe there are a lot more dances in Borneo which have unique history like these, right? So, I really appreciate if you can teach me to learn Borneo’s dances especially this Sumazau dance. I cannot wait to see you spread you arms like the eagle’s wings.Hehe..and I will be the chicken!