Dance contest raises awareness on ethnic groups

National 2 minutes, 5 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SULTAN Hassan Secondary School from Bangar, Temburong, took home the title for the 8th National Ethnic Dance Competition 2016 for Secondary Schools yesterday.

The school’s performance of Murut ethnic dance Umak Rama earned them an overall score of 91.45 per cent.

They bested dancers from SM Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Mentiri, SM Sufri Bolkiah Tutong and Pusat Tingkatan Enam Meragang who placed second, third and fourth respectively.

Hj Mohd Jaafar Maun Primary School emerged victorious in the Traditional Dance category for primary schools with a score of 94.2 per cent with their _Alus Jua Dindang_dance.

Lambak Kanan Jalan 49 Primary School and Pantai Berakas Primary School finished second and third, both with a score of 89.4 per cent.

Datu Ratna Hj Mohd Jaafar Kiarong placed fourth in the competition with a score of 83 per cent in the 40th Brunei’s Traditional Dance competition yesterday.

Ak Asmady Pg Sahdon, one of the judges in the competition, told The Brunei Times that he was very impressed with this year’s performances as many “stepped up beyond expectations”.

“They were really creative in their performances but they still retained the authenticity of their dance movements that showcased the genuine dances of our Brunei communities,” said the dancer from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

Abdul Hamid Aji, choreographer of the winning team for the secondary school category, said they had intensive training to prepare for the competition.

Abdul Hamid went on to say that among the many reasons they chose Umak Ruma was to highlight the Murut community and their culture which is prevalent in Temburong as Umak Ruma is usually performed by the Muruts during weddings.

He added that more dance competitions should be held as they could open up more possibilities to showcase deeper understanding of ethnic communities in the sultanate.

Roslin Suhailee, acting assistant director of the Co-Curricular Education Department under the Ministry of Education said that among the purposes of the competition is to continue preserving Brunei’s cultural heritage in this era of globalisation. “Meanwhile, it (the competition) can also cultivate the spirit of love towards our own national art and culture with hopes that they continue to be a part of our Bruneian identity in line with our nation’s philosophy of Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB),” added the government officer.

Held at the capital’s Youth Centre, the competition was attended by Acting Head of Special Education Unit Pg Sarimah Pg Hj Ahmad as guest of honour who presented prizes to winners.

The Brunei Times