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Aceh’s Best: The Saman Dance

When you come across an Indonesian cultural performance in any international exhibition, it is very much likely that Acehnese vibrant traditional dance, the Saman Dance, would be one of the assorted cultural splendors put on stage. Mostly comparable with any Balinese dance, Saman Dance is one of the sweethearts of Indonesian performing arts, often acts as an ambassador of exceptional Indonesian dances.

Created by a native Acehnese, a religious leader named Sheikh Saman around the 16th century, the dance is widely known as indigenous to the Gayo society as it was born in Central Aceh. Many modern societies in Asian, Australian, and European nations have adopted its harmonious and impulsive mechanism. However, the originality and authenticity of the dance can never be imitated when the essence is always in Aceh.

Performed by a group of dancers wearing mostly colorful and bright traditional uniform, the dance is a development of an art of Acehnese dance called Pok Ane. It is a singing of a poem, combined with claps of hands, pats on chest, and thigh slaps. The movements are so harmonious and sometimes vigorous that would leave the spectators in awe. Saman Dance is truly an entertaining performance that only beautiful minds can create such exquisite and artful techniques.