The Dances of Indonesia

Hi! Assalamu’alaykum…

Did you know Indonesia has hundreds of traditional dances? Every culture has its own dances and every dance has a story. I will explore some of the country’s popular traditional dances and their origins.


A dance from Gayo tribe of the province of Aceh. Saman is performed by about 10 people who sit on the floor in a straight line. The dance, a UNESCO Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, represents education, religiosity, respect, heroism, solidarity and togetherness.


Born in the Minangkabau tribe in West Sumatera, Tari Piring, or the ‘plate dance’ used to be performed as part of a thanksgiving ritual following a successful harvest.


One  of the must-see attraction of Yogyakarta and Central Java, the origib of the Ramayana ballet on Hindu-influenced Java is unknown. The dance is inspired by the eponymous Hindu epic which tells the struggle of Prince Rama in rescuing his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana.

Kancet Papatai

Also known as Tari Perang or ‘war dance’, this dance from East Kalimantab tells the story of the Dayak tribe warriors during war. Vibrant and dynamic, the war dance is usually performed by 10 to 20 men who carry the tribe’s traditional weapon, the mandau.


Kecak known as the ‘fire dance’, Kecak involves a huge group of men in checked sarongs sitting on the ground around a bonfire with hands in the air chanting cak cak cak repeatedly. A sacred dance in the past, it was turned into a performing art in the village of Bona, Gianyar, in the 1930s.


Sajojo is performed at important events and cultural festivals to welcome guests. Originating from Papua, the dance is basically a much older version of the modern-day flashmob, as it is often performed by more than 30 people in conruent movements.

That’s some of the dances of Indonesia. You can see the dance in youtube. See you. Wassalamu’alaykum.


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