KOTA KINABALU: Colours and cultural music filled the city’s streets as teams of folk dancers rehearsed for the 10th annual Sabah International Folklore Festival here.
The teams practised at the Lintasan Deasoka area while roads were temporarily closed to make way for the annual competition that includes a parade.
A total of 17 teams will vie for the top spot in the International Folk Dance Competition, scheduled to be held from today to Saturday at the Sabah Cultural Centre in Penampang.
Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said the festival would act as a platform for cultural exchanges and bring people of different ethnic backgrounds together.
He said it was also a positive sign that there were more than 320 contestants this year, compared to 150 participants previously.
“I hope this festival will continue to be held in Sabah every year and with more participating countries so that our tourism industry will benefit,” he said.
The teams are from Russia, Mexico, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Latvia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, South Korea, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, Slovakia and Malaysia.
The festival includes the 7th Local Folk Dance Competition, open to primary and secondary schools in Sabah.
An exchange of traditional costumes between participating teams took place on Tuesday to mark the beginning of new friendships for some and rekindling of old acquaintances for many.