Top 7 Traditional Dances of Indonesia (#5 is Popular)

Dance is maybe the most beautiful thing that human did. Dance is a sequence of the body movement. In the dance, you can express many things, like emotions, and also art. Dance has many categories such as choreography, the kind of movements. Also, its historical period or place of origin.

Beside those categories, dance also has many purpose. Maybe for social or also for competitive. However, whatever the reason is, dancing is always good to see. The combination of music and the dance itself will make a beautiful sight. That beautiful sight for those who dare to seeks it.

However, in Indonesia you’ll find so many of them. Actually, the number of the dances in this country almost infinite. The dances vary base on its area, starting from Sabang til Merauke. They will absolutely attract the eyes of the tourists. Drawing a beautiful yet stunning performances to create a great memory for them.

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Okay beside further explanation, lets get straight into the dances. They’re undoubtedly magnificent of course, so check these out :

1. Pendet (Bali)

Pendet is the presentation of an offering in the form of a ritual dance. Unlike the exhibition dances that demand arduous training, Pendet may be danced by anyone. It is taught simply by imitation. This is a traditional dance from Bali, Indonesia, in which offerings are made to purify the temple or theater as a prelude to ceremonies or other dances.

Pendet is typically performed by young girls, carrying bowls of flower petals, handfuls of which are cast into the air at various times in the dance. Pendet can be thought of as a dance of greeting, to welcome the audience and invite spirits to enjoy a performance.

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2. Topeng (Bali)

Another dance from Bali. The story is narrated from a Penasar, a jawless half-mask that enables the actor to speak most clearly. In group topeng, there are usually two penasars providing two points of view.  The performance alternates between speaking and non-speaking characters, and can include dance and fight sequences as well as special effects (sometimes provided by the gamelan).

It is almost always wrapped-up by a series of comic characters introducing their own views. The narrators and comic characters frequently break western conventions of storytelling by including current events or local gossip to get a laugh.

In Topeng dance, there is a conscious attempt to include many, sometimes contradictory, aspects of the human experience: the sacred and the profane, beauty and ugliness, refinement and caricature.

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3. Suanggi (From West Papua)

This dance is a war dance symbolizing the heroic and the valor of the Papuan People.  Suanggi is usually happens when the head of the tribe of papua will order his soldiers to fight. The dance has a purpose to tell the soldiers to keep their spirit and keep blazing their passion.

However, nowadays, because of the era and also the government regulations that strictly prohibit tribal warfare, now the dance is only be the welcome dance, or greeter dance.  There are 16 men and 2 women performing this dance. They dance with passion with the musical instruments like the drums.

As well as the chant songs of the spirits, dancers will still dance even though the sun is blazing. It will not fade the spirit of the Dancers. Clothing worn by dancers is a typical papua clothing that is filled with beads made of roots and leaves are inserted around his body.

It becomes prove that the dancers love the nature of Universe. Very great eh?, so what are you waiting for?.

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4. Cakalele (North Maluku)

Cakalele dance is a traditional dance, actually a war dance that come from North Maluku. This dance is performed by male dancers, but there are also some female dancers as supporting dancers.

Cakalele Dance is one of the most well-known traditional dances in North Maluku. Also often held in customs and entertainment events.

In addition, this dance is also a common in various cultural events as well as tourism promotion. Both at local, national, and even international. 

In the present day, Cakalele Dance is no longer has a function as a war dance, but is often shown for events or traditional celebrations. Cakalele Dance also has a function as a form of appreciation and respect of the people for their ancestors.

This dance also describes that the soul of Maluku people are brave and tough. It can be seen from the movements and expressions of the dancers while dancing this Cakalele Dance. In its development, various creations and variations are also added to the show to be more interesting. Cakalele dance is maybe shows at various events such as welcoming guests, traditional celebrations, and other traditional events. In addition, this dance is also shown in various cultural events such as art performances, cultural festivals and tourism promotion.

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5. Saman Dance (Aceh)

Saman dance is very interesting to see. This dance performances are not only popular in Indonesia, but also popular in foreign countries such as Australia and Europe.

Recently, Saman dance shown at a show in Australia to commemorate the great tsunami disaster on December 26, 2006 ago. Therefore, it’s one of many uniqueness you can find in here, Indonesia.

Then, Saman Dance serve as a medium of da’wah. Before Saman begins, the tribe leaders appear to represent the local community.

Tribe leaders provide useful advice to the players and the audience. But today, the saman dance function is changing. This dance is more often serves as a medium of entertainment at parties, celebrations, and other events.

In general, dozens of men will perform this dance. But the number must be odd. However, in further development, this dance is also played by women. Another opinion said the dance is performed by less than 10 people, with details of 8 dancers and 2 people as a giver of cue while singing.

However, the developments in the modern era require that a dance will be more vibrant when danced by a number of dancers. This is what Shaykh’s role is, he must organize movements and sing Saman dance poems. So, they can create a beautiful masterpiece of harmony. Its a must see dance, undoubtedly. 

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6. Tari Piring / Plate Dancing (West Sumatera)

Tari Piring is a dance that comes from Minangkabau tribe which is so famous throughout the world. The uniqueness that distinguishes this dance with other types of dance in the archipelago has managed to invite many tourists. 

Various movements in this dance are the combination of a beautiful dance, acrobatic movements, and magical movements. The dance movements performed  by 3-5 personnels. The movements were actually tell about the activities in the cultivation of rice crops that became the livelihood of Minang people in the old days. 

There are at least 20 dance moves will be perform by the dancers to do the perfect Tari Piring. The twenty dance movements  above are done with a fast tempo, accompanied by a rhythmic music that describes the senses of togetherness, joy, and spirit. The music in the dance itself comes from 2 musical instruments, talempong and saluang. Talempong is a musical instrument, need wood, brass, or stone to make this. 

Except those musical instruments, this dance is also accompanied by the ringing noise ring worn by the dancers. Its worth to check though.

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7. Reog Ponorogo Dance (East Java)

Reog is a famous original art of Indonesian that comes from Ponorogo, East Java. This unique dance is still active and known from all the people of Indonesia and even foreign tourists. Reog Ponorogo that we know is synonymous with the power of the black world, thugs or other violence.

Apart from the mystical world of eastern and supernatural powers. On the shows, there is the ultimate power of pembarong, lifting the 50kg Dadak Merak with their teeth during the show.

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Not only that, Reog Ponorogo also  accompanied by some gamelan instruments such as kempul, ketuk, kenong, and so forth. In reog ponorogo there are also old waroks, a number of young warok, pembarong and Bujang Ganong and the King Kelono Suwandono. The number of members of reog ponorogo group are around 20-30s, while the main role is the warok and pembarong.

Reog was used for gathering the masses and was an effective communication channel for the rulers of that time. Ki Ageng Mirah then made a legendary story about the Kingdom of Bantaranangin which by most people of Ponorogo is believed to be the history of this dance. Its a unique, stunning and also majestic dance, really good to check out.

Finally, that’s it, all you need to know about Traditional Dances of Indonesia. Well this is a must see things in Indonesia, don’t forget to take a look at them. You must feel the greatness of it, yourself. Okay, enjoy it and have a great day !

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