Alexa Dancer perform the humped bird dance. Photo: Asia Times
Alexa Dancer perform the humped bird dance. Photo: Asia Times

Alexa Dancer, a group formed by Hong Kong-based Indonesian domestic workers under lead dancer Widyawati Alexandria Palupi, are always up for a new challenge when it comes to traditional dancing. Recently, they performed the “humped bird dance,” or enggang dance,  in front of several thousand people.

The dance originates from east Kalimantan, in Borneo, and depicts the life of the enggang, or hornbill. Usually performed by young women, it is very popular among the Dayak Kenyah tribe, who call it “kancet welded.”

The Dayak people perform the dance to pay tribute to their ancestors, who, it is believed, came from the sky and looked like hornbills. Hornbills, logically, play an important role in the religion and culture of the Dayak people.

The dance is usually accompanied by music played with traditional instruments such as the sampe (a stringed instrument), gendang (a kind of drum) and gongs.

On August 6, Alexa Dancer performed the humped bird dance in the grand hall of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Wan Chai. They, together with dozens of other dancers and musicians, put on a show to celebrate Indonesia’s 72nd Independence Day (August 17).

Read: August 17: a day for Indonesian people to celebrate

In April, the team performed the Mambri Dance – a traditional hunting dance from Papua province – in front of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, who was in Hong Kong for a two-day visit, at the Asia-World Expo on Lantau Island.

Read: Indonesian maids realize their dancing dreams in Hong Kong