A total of 6,000 dancers performed the Likurai dance at the peak of Fulan Felan hill in Dirun village, Lakmanen district, Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara. The dance was part of the Fulan Fehan Festival, which featured dancers from Belu, Malaka, North Timor Tengah (TTU) and neighboring country Timor Leste.
“The Fulan Fehan Festival is one of our efforts to introduce the traditional dance, originating from Belu, as a legacy that needs to be preserved,” said famous Indonesian dancer-choreographer Eko Supriyanto on Saturday (Oct. 28).
The 46-year-old man, who was appointed by US singer Madonna as her choreographer during her world tour several years ago, said that the Likurai dance was usually performed by male dancers with swords, while female dancers would use tihar (small drum).
The Likurai dance was often performed when welcoming VIPs, during traditional ceremonies or during cultural festivals.
Eko explained that the dance was first performed to welcome village heroes coming home from war. Centuries ago, there was a tradition of beheading enemies in Belu. The dance would be performed to celebrate their victory.
“This dance expressed their gratitude and happiness because their heroes returned home safely,” he added.
Since the country’s Independence Day, the beheading tradition is no more. However, the Belu villagers preserve the Likurai dance and perform it to welcome their guests.[yan]