Aceh : Saman Dance : a thousand hand dance (Tari Saman : Tari Seribu Tangan)

Saman or the hands dance one thousand was the traditional dance withered that came from the area Acehinese Tenggara, to be precise in the Gayo plateau. The name “Saman” was taken from the person who created and developed this dance, Syeikh Saman, that is one of the Muslim scholars who spread the Islam religion in Aceh. The poem language or the song that was used was Arabic and Aceh that contained the preaching centipede, the hint, the advice quatrain and the love quatrain. This dance was known with several name kinds, including Saman Gayo in Acehinese Tenggara and Middle, Saman Lokop in Acehinese East and Saman West Aceh in Acehinese West. However was not yet found by the explanation that was more specific concerning the equality and the difference of the dance saman from respectively this area.

In ancient, this dance was shown in the certain traditional ceremony, among them in the ceremony commemorated the birth day of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Selain Itu, especially in the context kekinian, this dance was shown also in the agendas that were state, like guests's visit of the country, or at the time of the opening of a festival and the other diary.

The dance saman was suspected of coming from the Malay Kuno dance. This assumption emergence because of the dance saman used two elements of the movement that became the element of the foundation in the Melayu Kuno dance: applause and the chest clap. Expected, when spreading the Islam religion, Syeikh Saman studied the Melayu Kuno dance, afterwards produced came back through the movement that was accompanied with Islam preaching poems in order to facilitate his preaching. In the context kekinian, the ritual dance that was religious this still was used as the media to send the preaching centipede through performances.

In the Dutch colonisation period, the performance of the dance saman was banned because it was considered contained the magical element that could lead astray. However, this ban was not heeded by the Acehinese community, so as this dance continued to develop fast now with various dynamics that were matched with the situation and the condition. Moreover, the dance saman only was not shown in the Acehinese area, but also in the other area in Indonesia, in fact overseas, like Singapore and Malaysia.

The dance saman including one of the quite unique dances, because only put forward the movement of applause and the other movements, like the shaky movement, kirep, lingang, surang-refined and the movement lengek. The other uniqueness was seen from the position sat the dancers and the fluctuation in the body that dihentakkan to left or to right, when poems in song . Moreover, this dance did not use musical equipment, because with these movements as well as the poem that were sung created the delighted atmosphere.

Generally, the dance saman was played by belasan or dozens of men, but the amount must be odd. However, in the further development, this dance was played also by women or the mixture between the man and the woman. Moreover, the other opinion said that this dance was danced by approximately 10 people, with details 8 dancers and 2 people as the command giver while singing. To arrange various movements was pointed out a leader who was acknowledged as Syeikh. Apart from arranging the movement of the dancers, Syeikh also was assigned to sing song poems saman this.

The dancers saman wore the typical Acehinese uniform costume, with bulang the pupil in the head, the cover of the neck as well as the bracelet on the two wrists. In his implementation, the dancers sat lined up memanjang nearby with knees was folded. Syeikh sat in the middle of the other dancers. Syeikh sang the poem or the song was followed with various movements by the other dancer. The movement and the song that were sung had dynamic relations, synchronous and showed the solidarity. This dance was preceeded with a slow movement, with applause, the chest clap and the thigh, as well as lifted the hands above in a changing manner. It was increasingly old, the movement of this dance was increasingly fast until this dance ended.