Let’s Enjoy These Malaysian Traditional Dances!

These days, few would be able to name all the numerous traditional dances in Malaysia. After all, other than the little exposure we have back in school days, the colourful local dance scene is not something we often come across in our daily life. Now that the Independence Day is approaching, check out these traditional dances of Malaysia!


First on the list is Zapin. It is the most popular Malay dance form. Additionally, it is synonymous with the southernmost state in Peninsula Malaysia, Johor.

Image by thesundaily.my.

Kuda Kepang

Next is the Kuda Kepang, a dance form originated from Pulau Jawa with Islamic influences. The dancers generally depict a group of horsemen.

Lion Dance

After that, we have the traditional dance in Malaysian Chinese. Usually, the performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume. It is normally performed to bring good luck and fortune.

Dragon Dance

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Besides, there is also the dragon dance, which you can often see during festive celebrations too.


More popularly known as the Bamboo Dance, this is a popular dance form in Sabah. The dancers also need good timing and agility to perform the dance. They have to put their feet between the clapping bamboo poles without being trapped.

Image by mysabah.com.

Ulek Mayang

In addition, there is the traditional dance from Terengganu. The ritualistic dance acts to appease or invoke the spirits of the sea.


On another note, this energetic Punjab folk dance also has a modern form to cater to its younger fans.


Meanwhile, there is also the iconic Indian classical dance. A solo female dancer usually performs the dance exclusively.


Initially, this dance form only appears during the inai (henna application) ceremony. For your information, it is also a court dance performed mostly during royal wedding festivities.

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Mak Yong

On the other hand, there is Mak Yong dance which comes from Kelantan. UNESCO also named the traditional form of dance-drama as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


Now, who can ever forget Ngajat, the dance which belongs to the Iban community? In the past, the warriors might have performed the dance on their return from battles.

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Then, we have the traditional dance by the Kadazan Dusun and is popular in Sabah.

Datun Julud

Furthermore, there is also this dance from East Malaysia. This hornbill dance is an Orang Ulu traditional women’s dance. Moreover, it is also popular among the Kenyah tribe of Sarawak.

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Farapeira & Branyo

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Last but not least, there are the two dance forms favoured by the younger and older generations of Malaysian Portuguese respectively.

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