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Kalimantan Dance

important, we can suppose that dancing in Kalimantan at that time was religious nod sacral in nature, and as the palaces of the kings were the centres of all cultural -activities, dancing in Kalimantan at tile beginning of tile Hindu-Indonesian period was also feudal.

Before the Indians entered Kalimantan, as the), had Java ' Ball and Sumatra, Kalimantan had ' been inhabited by indigenous Dayak tribes. Many among the Dayaks who did not wish foreign influence preferred to remain in the forests or inland, far from the coasts. The Dayaks who were willing to mix with the Indians consisted for the greater part of merchants and it was this group whom influenced by the Indians.

The Dayaks who led an isolated life in the of Kalimantan and were separated from. any relationship with the Court still maintained their native culture, which was democratic in nature. Gradually Hindu culture entered there also, but not to a great extent. This fact was also very important in the development of dancing in Kalimantan.

None of the Kalimantan kingdoms, neither Hindu-Kalimantan nor Islamic have left any products of dancing. The Kalimantan dances which are still preserved are those of the, people of the Dayak tribes living inland.

In 1956, when the author visited the palace of the pensioned king of Kutei, he saw with his own eyes that the king and his family were very fond of Javanese art, especially the wayang (leather puppet or shadow play). In the palace-hall there was a complete set of the Javanese gamelan slendro and pelog. The king also had a box of wayangs which were still in good condition. In Banjarmasin the author once saw a dance-performance of the love-dance of Damarwulan and Anjasmara (compare with Langen Driya in Central. Java) held on the front veranda of the governor's mansion.

Nowadays the Kalimantan dances which are usually performed and most enjoyed are the dances of a religious nature of the people of the Dayak tribes.


In this period of Modern Society, the Kalimantan dances which used to be performed only for religious purpose can now also be enjoyed as secular dances. The dances of the Dayak tribes which are religious in nature but often performed in secular performance are war-dances and dances of thanks to the Goddess of Rice. Almost every Dayak tribe has such dances, differing only in name. Among war-dances are the Mandau Dance, the Kenyah Dance, and the Belian Dadas Dance, their form and content is the same or almost the same. Among dances of thanks to the Goddess of Rice for a successful harvest are the Gantar Dance, and the Giring-Giring Dance.

The Mandau Dance is performed by men of four in pairs. Mandau is the name of a kind of sword in Kalimantan of a unique form and a beautifully decorated sheath. The costume is very simple, consisting only of a loin-cloth and a piece of ribbon with feathers round the head. Each dancer holds a long shield in his left hand and a mandau in his right. The accompanying music is also very simple: only a string instrument like a guitar. The dancing position is for greater part a squatting one. First the dancers, turning round and round, play with their mandaus or swords and their shields. When each faces his partner, the war-dance starts. When a dancer is attac

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