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About Kadayan ... part 7

Written By kadayan chronicles on Tuesday, 21 February 2006 | 16:35

Written by Amde sidik

Kadayan’s Dance

Very little is known about Kadayan’s traditional dances if any. Firstly, Kadayan doesn’t have many on its own. Second, most dances were borrowed from other ethnics even as far as from the Malay Peninsular, which include zapin, ronggeng and joget.

Kadayan’s ladies from Sarawak performing musical dance

Ulu Sipitang Anding dancers


So far there is only one, considered quite popular in 50s among the Kadayan older generation they called it anding.

No specific meaning attached to the word anding.

Two Kampongs in Sipitang district that help kept anding dance survived, Kg Ulu Sipitang and Kg Luagan initiated by the former association’s president some years ago.

Like other ethnics, dance is usually associated with merry making occasions and celebrations; in Sabah, it’s usually to mark the end of padi harvesting season. Others like, weddings, giving birth to the first baby, circumcision of their children and makan-makan tahun-annual feast. However, most of them is already extinct.

The history of anding was entirely different, its wasn't meant for merry making ocassions or enttertainment.

According to Datuk Zaini Haji Isa1 anding originally was a creation of bomoh, a local traditional healer. The singing and dancing was performed together with mantras.

It’s a medium of communication with the unseen dewa and dewi-God and Goddess.

It’s obviously Hinduism by origin as eastern Borneo like, Kutai in Kalimanatan was among the earliest regions to have influenced by Hindu’s arrival from India in 7th century. So there is no surprising to find traces of Hindu culture found in an ethnic like Kadayan.

Hindu influenced could also be seen even as later as 50 years ago from the way the ethnic wore their wedding dresses, and the way they made offerings and worshipping their Gods.


Anding expert was called to perform because of the sick person needs urgent attention, perhaps that is the last hope to get the sick cured.

When performing, the group of anding normally wore black coloured costume. Musical instruments used for the dance were violin, drum, a blade of hatchet and a gong. The group comprised of five to six people- four musicians, a dancer and a singer. The singer was normally a female selected from among the finest vocalist the community could find.

The singing and dancing would go for hours for example, from early evening to wee hour until the dancer was in ecstasy or unconscious. The sign probably is when she falls on the floor or when she dances without even touching the floor. Up to a point members on the floor may later join her and dance. It is also during this unconscious moment that God or Goddess comes down to negotiate for well-being of the sick person.

Today because Kadayan is lacking of cultural dance thus many think that anding may be a good choice and be revived except that the old idea of communitcation with God and Goddess must be forgone, otherwise it could upset some those deeply religous ones.

(Read Amde's biography HERE)

1A Kadayan,former nominated Sabah Assemblyman represented Labuan Island in 1980s.
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