Saman Dance

Saman dance is one of the cultural dances in Aceh, Indonesia. This dance originates from the Gayo highlands. It is said to have been created by an Aceh theologian in the 16th century AD as part of the Islamic message. In the past, Saman Dance was usually displayed to celebrate important events and to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.

Saman Dance History and Meaning From Indonesia

Meaning and Function of Saman Dance

This dance is one of the media for achieving messages. It reflects education, religion, courtesy, heroism, cohesiveness, and togetherness. The song and lyrics of its expression are shared and continuous. The dancer consists of men or women who are still young with traditional clothing from Aceh.

Before the Saman begins as mukaddimah or opening, there is a clever old man or traditional leader to represent the local community or useful advice to the players and the audience.

The presentation of the dance can also be staged or can be competed between groups. The assessment emphasizes the ability of each group to follow the movements, dance, and songs that presented by the opponent.

Choir In Saman Dance

This traditional dance is usually displayed not using musical instruments, but use the voices of the dancers and their applause. They usually combine with hitting their chest and groin as synchronization and slamming in various directions.

Because of the uniformity of formation and timeliness is a must, the dancer is required to have a high concentration and serious training in order to perform perfectly. In ancient times, this dance performed in certain traditional events including the ceremony to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

In addition, in the present context, this dance is also performed at official events such as inter-district and country visits or as the opening of a festival and other events.

Saman Dance Movement

This traditional dance uses two elements of motion which are the basic elements, clap the hands and pat the chest. The religious ritual dance is still used as a medium to deliver da’wah messages through shows. This dance is one of the unique dances because only shows the motion of applause and other movements such as shaking, kirep, lingang, and surang-saring.

The other uniqueness can be seen from the sitting position of the dancers and the swaying body which is stomped to the left or right when the poems are sung. The tempo will be faster and faster. That makes this dance interesting.

This dance is performed in groups while singing in a sitting position, kneeling and saluting without using musical instruments. Because of the dynamism of the motion, this dance is usually performed by men. However, this dance now has been danced by many female dancers and a mixture of male dancers and female dancers.

In each show, everything is synergized. So, it produces an amazing dance moves. The strength of this dance lies not only in its poetry but compact movements become more valuable in dance. This can be realized from the compliance of the dancers in playing their respective roles.


At first, Saman dance was only an ordinary folk game called Pok Ane. Seeing the great interest of the Acehnese people in this art, the Shaykh was inserted with poetry that contained Praise to Allah SWT.

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