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Dancing was never my thing. Trust me, for the two-left-feeters like me, all those fancy dance moves look pretty impossible to be followed through.

In disbelief, a friend of mine asked : “Not even the Sumazau?”.

I paused for a while, and then came out with a confession: “Yup, not even the Sumazau”.

Sumazau dance is a traditional dance of the Kadazans in Sabah. It has been widely danced in most ceremonial occasions, especially in Kadazan’s weddings and of course, the Kaamatan or the Harvest Festival.

That particular friend of mine then showed me how simple it was to dance the Sumazau.

In my own humble way and a non-dancing-human-being understanding, today, I’m sharing it with the world!

First, meet your imaginary Sumazau coaches, Jimmy and Roselyn;

sumazau dance illustration

Step 1: Stand straight.

The Kadazan’s traditional costumes, like the one worn by Jimmy and Roselyn, are optional but advisable for a more dramatic impact.

Step 2: Put your right foot on a partial tip-toe position

NOT like you’re doing ballet, NOT as if you’re tip-toeing to avoid land-mines or something. Just a decent raised of heel above the ground (refer pictures, below).

sumazau dance illustration

This right foot will served as your ‘spring’ – that was the exact words of my friend. You see, this right foot will give yourself the repetitive ‘toink’ to kick start the Sumazau

Step 3 : Once you’re comfortable with the heel-pumping

…tip-toe spring position or whatever you might named it, it’s then time to start the arms movement.

The arms movement is easy – you only need to swing it front and back, front and back, front and back, front and back.

While at the same time, with the help of your left foot, you will sway from left to right, left to right, left to right.

Now, if your body coordination is all intact, you’ll find yourself doing all three things; spring, swing and sway in a perfect harmony.

sumazau dance illustration

Step 4: Doing Step 3 over and over again

…will eventually give you the groove you need to proceed to Step 4. With your right foot still pumping, and the left foot still helping you with the sway, you will slowly extend your swinging arms to the side.

Now, you’re in an arms wide open position. Using your elbow, your arms will then engaged the extend and pull movement, repetitively.

Your elbows are now the ‘spring’ of your arms. If you succeed in doing the feet and arms movement simultaneously.


You now have the bragging rights to tell people that you know how to dance the Sumazau.

sumazau dance illustration

Overall, dancing the Sumazau is all about enjoying the local culture festivities. So, even if you don’t know the exact way of dancing it, once the music played all you need is a right amount of groove, a pinch of self-confident and a large appetite for fun.

Once you have all that, you’re more than welcome to dance your heart out!

More Sumazau videos

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