Reflections of Unity through the Tidayu Dance

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Tidayu is performed to welcome guests who come to Borneo. (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – Chinese, Dayaks, and Malays are the largest ethnic groups in West Kalimantan. Most Malays reside in Sambas, Mempawah, Ketapang, North Kayong, Rubu Raya, and Pontianak City.

As for the Chinese, most of them are located in Singkawang and Pontianak City, whereas the Dayak ethnic group is scattered around Bengkayang, Hedgehog, Sanggau, Sintang, Sanggau and Kapuas Hulu.

West Kalimantan has a million unique features that we do not know about, one of which is the Tidayu dance; the name is an acronym that stands for the three main ethnic groups in West Kalimantan, namely Tionghua, Dayak, and Malay.

This dance symbolizes the unity of ethnic groups in West Kalimantan who live side by side and are meant as a symbol for the community to remain united and live harmoniously, despite having different cultural backgrounds.

To introduce this dance, Tidayu is performed to welcome guests who come to Borneo.

The dance movements give a distinct, soothing impression to those who watch them. Accompanied by traditional music, girls dressed in traditional clothes full of decorative accessories move their hands and feet gracefully while holding hands with one another, which means mutual respect and assistance.

The dance’s clothing has also its charm; that of the Dayak tribe with its unique traditional clothing, the Malays with traditional clothes that have striking colors, and the Chinese with red cheongsam clothes, lanterns, and fan accessories.

In addition to strengthening the friendship between ethnic groups, the performance of this dance also reduces the prejudice between them, something which can certainly trigger conflict when it erupts.

Not only that, multi-ethnic dances like Tidayu can also be an attraction for tourists visiting Pontianak, displayed at every event and opportunity, such as state events, religious events, or traditional dance festivals. Many artists in Pontianak also use Tidayu as an inspiration to work.

Some make batik Tidayu with their respective patterns, that of the Chinese with dragon patterns and fans, that of the Dayak with the fern and shield leaves motifs and that of the Malay with shoots and wood carving motifs.

Currently, there are six batik patterns of Tidayu, each of which has its characteristics, such as violets, string, lanterns, jungle, harmony, and storks. There are also bags, bandanas, or headbands with distinctive Tidayu motifs.

Various creations are invented to attract buyers as well as to meet demands from consumers, mostly from outside Pontianak.

The works produced by artists are meant to preserve cultural identity in the increasingly-hectic modern times besides raising the economic standard of the region. (nhn)