5 Interesting Facts about the Minangkabau Traditional Plate Dance

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plate dance


Piring Dance (read: Piriang Dance) is a traditional dance typical of Minangkabau, West Sumatra. This dance displays dance attractions using plates.

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Amazingly, the dancers will swing the plates in their hands while following the rhythm with regular movements without any plates falling or slipping from their hands.

What are the interesting facts about this typical Minangkabau dance? Check out the following explanation!

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5 Facts of Plate Dance You Need to Know

Here are five interesting facts about this typical Sumatran dance.

1. Origin

Image: Google.com

Plate Dance is a cultural heritage of the Minangkabau community that has existed since the time of the Sriwijaya Kingdom or the 12th century. According to history, this traditional dance originated from the Solok region, West Sumatra. This dance was originally intended as a ritual to give thanks to the gods for a bountiful harvest.

This ritual is carried out by bringing offerings in the form of food. The offerings are placed on a plate and brought before the gods while dancing and twisting. Indeed, at that time, the Minangkabau people did not know Islam. So, this dance is also intended as a dance offering to the gods.

Apart from being a form of gratitude, Plate Dance at that time was also considered a ritual to ask for the protection of the gods so that people would avoid harm.

2. Plate Dance After the Entry of Islam

plate dance Image: kemlu.go.id

After Islam entered and the Minangkabau people recognized Islam, Piring Dance was not immediately abandoned, but experienced a shift in function and meaning. This dance is no longer intended as a ritual against the gods but is used as a means of entertainment for the community.

This typical Minangkabau dance is then widely displayed at public events or large events. As for these events, such as royal events, coronation of the title of penghulu, coronation of warrior titles, wedding parties, birth rituals, harvesting events, building a gadang house, opening traditional events, to welcoming guests of honor.

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3. Dance Movement

5 Interesting Facts about Plate Dance, From History to Its Meaning Image: kemlu.go.id

The movements in this dance are taken from the agricultural process movements that were previously carried out by the community. Then, it develops by taking movements from the steps in Minangkabau silat or what is called “silk”.

In general, the Plate Dance is performed by an odd number of dancers, between three and seven people. The dancers wear traditional clothes with bright shades, such as red and golden yellow, which are complemented by headgear.

The dancer will swing the plate in rapid movements, interspersed with clinking a plate or two rings on the dancer’s finger against the plate he is carrying. At the end of the dance, the plates brought by these dancers are usually thrown on the floor. Then, the dancers danced on the broken plates.

4. Accompanied by the Chanting of Traditional Musical Instruments

In the past, the dance was only accompanied by the chanting of traditional musical instruments, such as tambourines and gongs. Furthermore, this dance is also accompanied by typical Minangkabau music, namely talempong and saluang. Nowadays, this dance is growing with the accompaniment of modern musical instruments such as keyboards.

5. Types of Plate Dance

5 Interesting Facts about Plate Dance, From History to Its Meaning Image: beritasatu.com

A study published by the Indonesian Institute of Cultural Arts shows that the shape and style of the Piring Dance is influenced by geographic location. Thus, each region has its own unique dance characteristics.

In hilly areas or high altitude areas such as in the Luhak area (where the Minangkabau are from), dance movements tend to be of wide volume. The position of the dancer’s body tends to bend with a rather wide step pattern. The plate used is a dinner plate.

In the Luhak Minangkabau area, popular dances include the Piring Lawang Dance, Rantak Tapi, Padang Magek, Koto Anau, and Saniang Baka.

Meanwhile, in overseas or coastal areas, such as the west coast of Sumatra Island or Banda Sapuluah (South Coastal District), Padang, Pariaman, West Pasaman, to Aia Bangih Beach, the Plate Dance movement tends to be rather small and medium in volume.

The position of the dancer’s body is upright, not too low with a more agile movement and seems light. The plates used are small plates.

The Piring Dances that are quite popular in the overseas or coastal areas are the Lumpo, Pauh, Pariaman, Bayang, Painan, and Indro Puro dances.

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Those are interesting facts that we need to know about this typical Minangkabau dance. In today’s era, this dance is performed in a more modern way, but still maintains the inherent cultural elements. This dance is also known as the identity of the Minangkabau community, even to foreign countries.

Hopefully this information can add to our insight, yes!

Also Read:

en.theasianparent.com/tari-mandau

en.theasianparent.com/tari-traditional-bali

en.theasianparent.com/tari-pendet

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