Tourist shocks traditional dancers

The National,Wednesday June 15th, 2016

The Madang Festival showground arena came to a standstill when a female tourist stripped off her top and joined the Simbai dancers.
The 28-man Sandkai beetle head-dress dancers of Kovon LLG in Middle Ramu district were stunned and nearly lost track of their moves after they entered the arena during Sunday’s performance and  she joined the group.
Singsing group leader Brian Greatman said women were strictly not allowed to touch their traditional costumes, including their head dresses, but the female tourist forced her way into the arena and took a spear from one of their group members and started jumping with them.
Greatman said as soon as she took the spear, she started taking off her blouse in front of them and that created uneasiness among the dancers.
The Simbai dancers said such singsings were prepared in advance with rituals in the hausman and women were not allowed to touch their traditional attires.
“Our costumes were prepared with great care, time and commitment meant to attract our viewers,” Greatman said. He said the dancers did not like what the female tourist did and said tourists should be controlled by show committees in future festivals so that they did spoil the spirit of singsing the groups were in.
The Sandkai dancers walked for five days from their home to reach the banks of Ramu River before they boated to where they caught PMV to participate in the festival.
“Now we are looking for funds to return home and hope our MP Tommy Tomscoll and Governor Jim Kas would help us,” Greatman said.