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Minangkabau Traditional Dance – Tari Piring

Submitted by Agustian Hermanto on September 21, 2009 – 12:24 amComments

Originated in a town called Solok in the province of West Sumatra, Tari Piring is one of the most enchanting traditional dances of Indonesia. Piriang, as it is called in its original Minangkabau language, symbolizes the farmer’s joy for a successful harvest.

Tari Piring literally means plate (piring) dance (tari). It is the cultural dance of the Minangkabau people, influenced by the late Pagaruyung Kingdom, which ruled West Sumatra in the 14th century.

The dance ritual was originally performed by young ladies and men carrying food on the plates, to give thanks to the God for a successful harvest. Nowadays, this fast tempo dance is performed with dancers with only plates on each of their hands.

Depending on the choreography, the plates would sometimes be thrown into the air and the dancers will let them hit the ground to be broken into pieces. The dancers would then, without fear, step or jump or even roll around the broken glass without injuring themselves. This action of people leaping into piles of broken glass is considered to be the magic of Tari Piring.

Depending on the purpose of performing this dance, Tari Piring can have many different variations. These days, it is performed on public events, such as wedding parties, cultural events, etc. Some of the well-known variations include Tupai Bagaluik (the moving raccoon), bagalombang (waving/curling), and aka malikik.

Throughout the performance, the dance is accompanied by traditional Minangkabau music, such as talempong (similar to the Javanese gamelan), bansi, puput, salung (a flute that is usually made from bamboo, reed or rice stalks), etc. The music starts off slow and soft but it gets faster with time. The music is a crucial element in Tari Piring since it directs the dancers to move in a certain way.

In the video below, you would see that the dance was led by a woman shouting out instructions to the other dancers. The dancers would then take turns to step or jump on the pile of broken glass.

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