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 Local

SIFF 2016: A night to remember

30th July, 2016

By MOHD IZHAM B. HASHIM Pix by EDDIE ANGAT

KOTA KINABALU: Dance troupes from all over the world staged an array of stellar performances at the SIFF 2016 International Folklore Dance Competition, to the delight of a capacity crowd gathered at the Sabah Cultural Centre to watch one of the most awaited events of the year.

In yet another exciting show putting the spotlight on the melting pot of cultures, dance groups from 11 participating countries took to the stage to deliver their traditional dances based on their interpretation of this year’s SIFF 2016 theme “The Warrior”.

Bringing elegance and grace to the stage, dancers adorned in their South Korean folk dress presented a breath-taking cultural dance which captivated the audience.

The dance which was presented by the Kim Mija Dance Company, was traditionally performed for generals and soldiers returning from battle.

Among those at the festival were Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun who also launched the event on behalf of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman, as well as Mayor of Kota Kinabalu City, Datuk Yeoh Boon Hai.

The festival next headed to South Asia, putting the spotlight on Sri Lankan culture with young dancers from the RanRanga Dance Academy presenting a graceful starting performance before their older counterparts dazzled the crowd with an exhilarating traditional dance medley.

Irish group – the Gaellic Girls Dancing Troupe were clear crowd favourites of the night who performed a medley of exciting toe-tapping music of traditional Irish Jigs and reels in a dance based on an old Irish folklore about the mysterious Selkie, a mythical creature. According to Irish folklore, Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land.

Members of the audience cheered the host country took to the stage who delivered a hauntingly fascinating cultural Kelantanese dance which was traditionally performed for kings and warriors during the olden days.

Among the many fascinating shows of the night include the exciting Bhangra Desire Folk Art Club of India who really set the stage alive with their vibrant and lively Punjabi Warrior dance. The dance group of the Philippines also staged an exciting cultural performance of the Visaya tribe which drew loud cheers from the crowd.

In their first appearance at the festival, dance group of Estonia, the Kallakutrajad Gold Spinner also performed their traditional dance of their native folklore about fire – an important necessity for communities living in frigid reaches of Nordic European countries.

To the delight of the audience, the Russian group from the Republic Sakha Yakutia presented a minute video depicting life in their homeland before dancers hit the stage with bold, acrobatic dance moves which enthralled the crowd.

It did not take long before dancers of the Gantari Gita Khatulistiwa from Indonesia made their entrance with a fascinating Minangkabau custom which also showcased traditional dance with martial arts, backed by a traditional instrumental band.

Dancers from Ramkumhaeng University of Thailand never failed to amaze the audience with their mesmerising warrior dances steeped in rich tradition and history.

Among the other performers also include Australian dance group – the O’shea Ryan Irish Dancers who also presented their own Irish toe-tapping dance of Irish communities living in Australia.

   
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