‘Nambuyunan’ Rhythm Nation – Journey to the World Dance Cup 2019


On June 29 to July 6, the Dance World Cup 2019 (DWC) was held in Braga, Portugal. During this competition, 3 very talented young dancers from Sabah have made the nation proud by nabbing the gold medal for their dance performance called ‘Nambuyunan’. They participated under the category of Children Duet/Trio National and Folklore Dance with their dance being inspired by the culture of the Murut people from Sabah. Nambuyunan is a dance performance that is traditional dance performance. It is a dance choreographed by Aji Asyraf Afi Bin Aji Lee, or better known by his stage name Achap Lee, and is performed by 10-year-old Ahmad Mikhail Damsal and 12-year-olds Muhammad Fakhrul Afif and Oscar Neil from Sekolah Kebangsaan Stella Maris. The dance has deep roots in the Murut community. It showcases a glimpse of the cultural uniqueness and traditional performance art inspired by the Murut people. The costumes of the performers were also specially made with large bird feathers to help enhance the visual aspect of the performance.

The word Nambuyuna carries the meaning of “crazy” within the native language of the native people. This meaning of the word carries the essence of the story that is being told in the dance. The choreographer of the mystical dance, Achap Lee, wanted to tell the story of 3 brothers who strives to create an engraving. However, the engravings that they make always felt the same and without any difference. In their attempts to create something that is different, they became obsessed and continued to make more and more engravings. “The dance will present the story whereby the 3 siblings create these engravings but to no end up until the point they lost their minds.” The inspiration for the dance performance hails from the land of Tenom, Sabah, the homeland of the Murut people. It is where the story of these 3 siblings originates. The choreography includes many elements from the culture of the Murut people.

Going through the ranks of many other equally wonderful performances from all over the globe, winning 1st prize is definitely something that the team was very happy and grateful for. “Honestly, we felt very happy and excited that our own product, that is from Malaysia, from the Borneo, from the Murut tribe that is native only to Sabah, is able to be showcased and introduced on an international stage.”




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