Folkdance from West Sumatra
The plate dance, or "Tari Piring" in Indonesian, also known as "tari piriang" in the Minangkabau language, is one of the traditional dances originating from West Sumatra, Indonesia, specifically from the Minangkabau tribe.
History of the Plate Dance
The plate dance has been an important part of Minangkabau culture and traditions for centuries. This dance is thought to have existed since the 16th century and may be even older. In the highlands of West Sumatra, farming communities initially invented the plate dance.
Plate Dance Legend
There are several legends surrounding the origin of the plate dance. One of them is a legend about a Minangkabau king who created this dance as an expression of gratitude for an abundant harvest. This dance was originally performed to celebrate a successful harvest and honor the agricultural gods.
In Minangkabau traditional beliefs, there are several gods and spirits who are respected and considered to have an influence on human life, including agriculture. Some of the gods and spirits that are often honored in Minangkabau culture are:
- Batara Guru: Batara Guru is one of the main gods in Minangkabau beliefs. He was considered the god of the mountains and the sky. Batara Guru is worshiped as the protector and guardian of the universe and is associated with prosperity and abundance.
- Dewi Sri: Dewi Sri is the goddess of fertility and harvest in Minangkabau beliefs. He is considered the cause of prosperity in agriculture and gardening. Dewi Sri is often honored in ceremonies related to harvesting and agriculture.
- Gods of Nature: Apart from Batara Guru and Dewi Sri, there are various other nature gods that are revered in Minangkabau culture. Some of them are river, mountain, and forest deities who are considered to have power and influence over the surrounding nature and human life.
- Traditional Institutions and Ancestors: In addition to the gods and goddesses, in Minangkabau culture, traditional institutions and ancestors are also respected and considered to have an important role in maintaining the balance of nature and people's lives.
It is important to remember that traditional beliefs may vary in each region and community group in Minangkabau, and there may be variations in respect for different deities and spirits in different places. These legends and beliefs have become an integral part of Minangkabau culture and influence various aspects of people's lives, including arts and dances such as the Plate Dance.
Movement and Meaning of Plate Dance:
A group of dancers perform the plate dance while holding ceramic plates in their hands.
There are several variations of movement in plate dancing. The plate-throwing motion is one of the less common variations, while the plate-twisting motion is more commonly seen in plate dance performances. They danced agilely while throwing and catching the plates. The dance moves are dynamic and attractive, reflecting the joy and spirit of a successful harvest.
In plate dance, dancers demonstrate their skill in balancing and moving ceramic plates agilely without dropping or braking them. Some dancers even add candles to the plate to create a dance variation called the "candle dance" or "tari lilin." The dancers hold the bottom of the plate in their palms and swing it wildly, using dexterity to keep the plate spinning without falling.
In addition, dancers also use a ring on one of their fingers to tap on their plate, creating a sound accompaniment that adds dynamics and rhythm to the dance movement.
Plate dance does require skill and good practice to maintain balance and make movements agile. The plate dance performance becomes attractive and impressive because of the combination of the beautiful movements, the sound of the rotating plate, and the enthusiasm of the dancers that animates the show. This dance is indeed the pride of Minangkabau culture and is an important part of Indonesian artistic and cultural life.
Apart from being an expression of gratitude and happiness for the harvest, plate dancing also has religious meaning in Minangkabau culture. Some dancers believe that the movement of lifting and catching plates symbolizes lifting prayers and supplications to God as well as catching blessings that fall from the sky.
The plate dance has now become one of the most famous traditional dances from Indonesia and is frequently featured in cultural events, festivals, and celebrations throughout the country. The beauty of the movement and the message it conveys have made the plate dance highly appreciated and praised by the Indonesian people and visitors from all over the world.