Saman Dance and Ratéb Meuseukat

Saman Dance and Ratéb Meuseukat

Most people recognize Saman dance. Saman dance is one of traditional dances from Aceh province. Unfortunately, public are sometime get mistaken that Saman dance is actually Ratéb Meuseukat dance.

Those two dances are basically coming from the same province of Aceh, but they are belong to different tribe. Ratéb Meuseukat is belongs to Aceh tribe, while, Saman dance is belongs to Gayo tribe in Central Aceh. There are 3 different things that differentiate these dances:

  • Saman dance using Gayo language, and Ratéb Meuseukat using Aceh language.
  • Saman dance is brought by male dancer, and Ratéb Meuseukat is brought by female dancer.
  • Saman dance is un-instrumented, while Ratéb Meuseukat is accompanied by rapa’i and geundrang.

Ratéb Meuseukat dance is taken from Arab language; ratéb means praying, and meuseukat is silent. The content and the rhyme of this dance is about praise to the Lord and His Prophet which brought by group of female dancer with their traditional costume. This dance is growth in Meudang Ara Rumoh Abro in Soutwest Aceh propince.

At early begin, Ratéb Meuseukat was played after the class of reading Koran at night, and also become the media to preach, and it played in sitting and standing position. Nowadays, this dance is sometimes performed in great events, wedding ceremony and other occasion.

In Saman dance, this dance is usually performed during the birthday of prophet Muhammad and brought by using Arab and Gayo poetry. In some literature mentions that Saman dance was founded and developed by Sheikh Saman, a scholar who came from the Gayo in Soutwest Aceh.

Saman dance is also become one of the media to the achievement of the preaching message (da’wa). This dance reflects the educational, religious, polite, heroism, solidarity and togetherness.

Before to start the dance, there will be mukaddimah or opening show, appears a wise elder or traditional leaders to represent the local community (keketar) or useful advice to the players and spectators.

Saman dance is performed without instrument and played by group male dancer that wearing traditional costume. The instrument of this dance is using the sound of the dancers and their applause that usually combined with beating their chest and groin as synchronization, and threw the body to here and there.

This dance is guided by a leader who is typically called a Syech. Since this dance need formation uniformity and timeliness, the dancers are required to have high concentration and serious exercise in order to perform perfectly. This dance is danced by men in particular.

In general, saman dance played by dozens of men, but the amount should be in odd number.Others say that this dance is danced more or less in 10 people, with details of 8 dancers and 2 as cue givers. Nevertheless, at present time it requires the dance will be more lively when it danced by more dancers. To arrange a variety of movement, it instituted a leader who called sheikh. In addition to regulating the movement of the dancers, Sheikh is also tasked to sing poems, called ganit.

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