Saman Dance, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam


From Sabang to Merauke Indonesia has so many regional cultures, such as traditional clothes, traditional weapons, to traditional dances such as the saman dance. This dance from the Gayo tribe, Aceh has been known by the people of Indonesia and the world.

The dance movements are fast, energetic, but simple, making viewers amazed by the compactness of the dancers’ movements. This saman dance does have so many uniqueness that makes it different from other traditional dances.

For that, let’s discuss some of the uniqueness of this saman dance.


The main characteristic of the saman dance is that the dancers’ movements are very compact and fast. The dancers will sit tightly in a row to the side and perform the dance while sitting.

Maybe this looks simple, but in fact it requires very high concentration and solidarity. The dancers must focus on looking ahead while keeping the movements in harmony while occasionally nodding their heads according to the movements and rhythm of the dance.

Not Using Music

Unlike other traditional Indonesian dances, which usually use gamelan or other musical instruments as dance accompaniment. The saman dance uses the sound of the dancers’ mouths and the sound of hitting the thighs, chest, floor, and clapping hands to accompany the dance.

Delivering Gayo Language Poetry

Because it comes from the Gayo tribe, this dance uses the Gayo language and is sung in a loud and vibrant voice. The verses that are delivered contain many messages and meanings such as messages of preaching, life satire, and advice passed down from generation to generation.

Number of Dancers

In history it is told that there used to be only 10 saman dancers. However, over time the number of dancers varied to thousands and broke the MURI record in 2017 as a traditional dance with the largest number of dancers. Usually the number of dancers is only up to 17 but sometimes it can be more.

Formation Shape

The number of dancers is usually odd up to 17 dancers, and each dancer has a special designation name such as for the left and right dancers or numbers 1 and 17 called passengers. For dancers number 2 to 7 and 11 to 16 they are called pliers. And numbers 8 and 10 are called brackets. And dancer number 9 is called the lifter.

Dancer Costumes

The costume of the saman dancer is fairly simple, with head decorations and bright colors of clothes. The dancers use two colors of clothes that alternate between each dancer. This further adds to the uniqueness of this dance and makes it easier for the dancers and the audience to watch when the dancer makes the opposite movement to the dancer who is right next to it.

Varied Movement

The movements in the saman dance are not limited to the motion of tapping your hands to the chest or thighs. There are several other types of movements such as greeting moves, regum movements, song moves, closing moves, and other movements that are packaged to attract each movement.

The dance that is presented is simple but has unique and fast movements and carries meaningful verses that make the saman dance one of Indonesia’s traditional dances that we must maintain so that it remains known and increasingly global.


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