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Dazzling traditional costumes highlight Dance World Cup competition

11th February, 2019


KOTA KINABALU: A costume is undoubtedly an important element in the dance culture as it allows a dancer to present one’s identity, especially when it comes to presenting one’s culture or tribe.

During the Dance World Cup: Malaysian Qualifier 2019 competition held for three days starting from Feb 8 at the National Department for Culture and Arts here, dancers were seen in glimmering costumes.

A group of eight dancers representing Kudat was among those with dazzling costumes. They were presenting the Rungus culture.

Redly Matinggi, one of the dancers in the group, said that they were wearing original Rungus costumes descending from their ancestors.

“I think the Rungus culture is mostly only known in Sabah, and not somewhere else; that’s why we are here to promote our culture through our Rungus dance (Mongigol Sumundai),” said the 17-year-old.

Their dance preparation, entirely choreographed by themselves, was only done in a month’s time as the dancers, mostly in their Form Five, spend more time revising to prepare for their SPM examination this year.

“We only practised in the evening and at night. When it comes to dancing, we dance our hearts out, and when it comes to studying, we focused entirely on our education,” he explained, disclosing that during their short break in between dance practices, they would grab the opportunity to do their school homework.

Redly has been actively dancing since he was 10. His team is well-known in Kudat as they regularly receive invitations to perform for events in the district.

“Being a dancer, we cannot be shy on stage. We do get nervous sometimes, but we overcome the feeling by praying moments before we perform, and then we will feel calm,” Redly enthused, adding that moral supports from family and friends are also important.

He also expressed his hope to see more young Rungus come out and use their talents to promote their tribe. However, the teen admitted that he has no plan to pursue dancing career as dancing is just a pastime hobby, and that he wishes to be in the teaching industry.

Meanwhile, a group of 10 students from SJK (C) Chung Hua, Tamparuli has performed the Chinese traditional fan dance, or also called the Pink Blossom, during the competition. They have won the third place in the children and small group categories.

One of the dancers, Darleen Darleena Jawanting said that it only took them one month to prepare for the competition.

“I am happy that we are able to obtain the bronze medal this year but next time, we will improve with a lot more practice,” said the shy 12-year-old, adding that focus is the key to perfecting the performance.

According to her, although she is a shy young lady, there is zero shame when it comes to performing in front of assembled spectators.

“If you want to win, shy is the last thing you want to be. Besides, I will just enjoy the moment and would not really care if I win or lose,” she quipped.

Darleena also revealed that part of the reason why she is able to dance freely is due to the constant support she received from her family, teachers, and friends.

A trio from SK Stella Maris who performed the Awang Semaun Dance, a Bruneian Zapin dance, has won the gold medal in the solo and duet trio categories.

Oscar Neil and Muhd Fakhrul Afif who are both 12, along with their partner, 10-year-old Ahmad Mikhail Damsa spent three months of practice for the dance competition.

Just like other dancers, they were nervous on stage, but managed to get rid of the feeling by pretending that no one is watching while they dance.

“If you want it, you have to earn it. This is what my coach has told us, and this has really motivated us,” said Ahmad Mikhail.

The trio did not expect to win at all but nevertheless were glad that their hard work has paid off.

One of the dancers, Muhd Fahkrul disclosed that the farthest he went for a dance competition was in Spain. However, the three of them did not intend to pursue a dance career in the future.

The Dance World Cup, the greatest all-genre dance competition in the world, is a platform for children and young adults to showcase their talents in dancing.

This year, Malaysia is seeing about 300 dancers competing in the state-level and to represent the nation in the World Finals which will be held at Portugal in June.

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