History of the Plate Dance – If you hear the name of West Sumatra Province, what is the
first thing you think of or remember? Is that Rumah Gadang, a traditional house from West
Sumatra? Or is it just rendang, a traditional, distinctive and popular food from the province
of West Sumatra?
When discussing traditional arts or regional arts, West Sumatra actually has a lot of art and is full of
meaning. However, there is one regional art that is best known by the public and is the pride
of the area which is on the northern tip of Sumatra. It is an art from the branch of dance,
The history of the plate dance is very long and has a deep meaning for the people of West Sumatra.
This traditional dance originating from Solok, West Sumatra, has become one of the proud provincial
identities. This is because this dance performance is often a regional attraction as a venue
for the promotion of Indonesian tourism and culture.
The province which is famous for its wealth of culinary spices, is one of the provinces in Indonesia that
has a very high level of cultural diversity compared to other regions. This is reflected in
several ways, such as regional languages, traditional houses, to traditional dances and traditional
Being a representation of West Sumatra from the many regional dances that exist, the plate dance is a very
popular art and is in great demand by the Indonesian people at large. The movements and
properties used in this dance are also very distinctive, so it is not surprising that this has attracted
attention from various walks of life, from local to international.
It is said that the history of the plate dance began when Huriah Adam popularized this traditional dance.
Due to its uniqueness and success in attracting audiences, plate dance is now often performed at
welcoming guests of honor or opening regional traditional ceremonies. Together with dances from
other provinces, such as the jaipong dance, saman dance, and pendet dance, this plate dance often represents
Indonesia in the promotion of national tourism and culture.
The plate dance is actually a traditional dance from Minangkabau which displays the attractions of dancers
when they move and dance using plate attributes. Then, the dancers will start swinging the
plate in their hands following a pattern of fast and regular movements.
The dance is performed for a certain time without a single plate being allowed to slip from his hand.
And for the movements, the dancers will usually take steps in silek or silat
typical of Minangkabau. Of course this is what adds the unique value of a traditional
So, what is the actual history of plate dance? How is the story of this plate dance
formed, and what are its characteristics, movements, and floor patterns? Curious?
To answer that, come on , see the information below. Check this
History of Plate Dance
In ancient times, around the 12th century AD, the Minang people at that time still worshiped God as their
belief. They really believe that it is God who has given people abundant crops and has
protected them from all kinds of dangers.
Therefore, the community started the tradition of giving offerings to the Gods by giving their crops.
The offerings are then placed on plates and delivered by the girls who have been prepared
beforehand. The girls will wear fine traditional clothes and behave gently to face the
After that, the offerings that had been prepared for the Gods were brought while the plates were being
moved to and fro. This is done with the aim of being a place to show off the abilities that
every girl has. It is from this event 800 years ago that it is alleged to have been the
beginning of the creation of the plate dance or the history of plate dance.
As time goes by, this plate dance is also growing. In fact, its development became even more
rapid during the reign of the Sriwijaya kingdom. At that time, the plate dance began to be
recognized by other regions and became a popular dance throughout West Sumatra.
However, the popularity of plate dance at that time did not last long. When the Sriwijaya
kingdom was conquered by the Majapahit kingdom in the 16th century, some of the dancers were forced to move
to Malay because they were refugees from Sriwijaya.
Some of them have moved to Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. These two areas in fact have a
different cultural background from the culture in Minang.
Therefore, the plate dance brought by the dancers to the area must also change and follow local customs,
namely Malay customs. This event is also the origin of the emergence of plate dance history in
the Malay area.
Meanwhile, in the Minang area itself, it turns out that there has been a very drastic change in the plate
dance art. This was increasingly seen when the Islamic religion was brought by the Majapahit
Kingdom, making offerings made by the people to the Gods no longer needed.
Furthermore, this dance actually became an art that was offered or demonstrated to the king and high-ranking
royal officials as entertainment at certain events in the kingdom.
The practice of the plate dance as a royal performance, apparently made this dance popular again and liked
by many people, especially among the Minang people. The plate dance began to transform and be
performed at common people’s events.
In its development, this plate dance was originally used as a dance offering to entertain the king and
guests of honor. After that, this dance also began to be used as a means of entertainment,
including filling in someone’s wedding ceremony, with the assumption that the married couple is king and
queen in a day.
Development of Plate Dance History
The development of plate dance culture in the repertoire of today’s Minangkabau society has indeed
experienced many shifts in functions and values. This is because at this time the plate dance
is not only managed and preserved by the government and residents of the West Sumatra area, but also by some
Minangkabau people who live overseas.
The main objective of managing and developing this traditional dance outside the Minang area is none other
than to maintain the existence of the plate dance. Moreover, the plate dance is part of the
identity and cultural heritage of the Minang people in Sumatra.
Over time, the values and aspects contained in the plate dance have actually shifted from time to time,
keeping up with the times. This happened in Sumatra or even in overseas lands.
We can see the development of the history of the plate dance itself from various aspects. One
of them is the value of the plate dance which was previously used as a complement to traditional ceremonies,
now its function is also transferred as an entertainment show.
In fact, currently there are many regional dance studios that have collaborated with entertainment agencies
to develop and introduce the plate dance more broadly. Even so, this development certainly
cannot kill the existence and role of the plate dance as one of the original identities of Minang
The plate dance, which continues to be popular, has made it experience many developments in new ideas and
designs. This was born from the thoughts of a modern individual choreographer.
Even so, the Minangkabau people and the Sumatran people in overseas still consider that the essence
of this traditional dance that has developed in quality is still referred to as the original Minangkabau
plate dance, a traditional dance that has existed since 800 years ago.
Characteristics of Plate Dance
1. The movement
As previously mentioned, the plate dance was originally a movement used to bring offerings to the Gods.
Therefore, the people will put a lot of food on the plate for the girls who are also dancers to
However, after Islam entered, the tradition of delivering offerings was no longer allowed.
Finally, the plates are empty and not filled with anything. However, there are some
versions of the plate dance which add burning candles to the surface to make the dance more attractive when
performed in front of a large audience.
2. Number of Dancers
According to the historical origins of the plate dance, this dance can only be danced if the number of
dancers is odd. The number of dancers can start from the numbers one, three, seven, to
In general, this dance will be performed for approximately 10 minutes, or a maximum of 15 minutes.
The duration of this dance is quite long when compared to other dances. This happens
because in the plate dance performance, there is a ritual called worship of the king or worship of the bride
and groom which will be performed before or after the dance ends.
3. Plate Dance Clothing
Apart from the number of dancers and the duration, another characteristic of the plate dance is that the
dancers must wear clothes that look beautiful. The clothes used are usually bright red with
gold patterns which are believed by the community to be the color of luck and wealth.
4. Accompaniment Music
As for the musical accompaniment, at the beginning of its appearance, this plate dance was usually only
accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as gongs and tambourines. However, after
the development of the times which demanded that music be played more beautifully, the saluang, drum, and
talempong were used as additional musical instruments.
Saluang is a musical instrument made of bamboo and is played by blowing. While drums and
talempong are percussion instruments, what distinguishes them is that talempong is made of brass and drums
are made of animal skin. These three musical instruments are added to the accompaniment with
the aim of adding to the dynamics of the song.
Plate Dance Show
At the time of the performance, the dance will begin after the musicians start hitting the gong as a sign
of the start of the performance. After that, the dancers will enter the arena while worshiping
the king or the bride and groom as a sign of respect.
Then, the dance begins with the dancers twisting their plates to the right and left according to the beat
of the music. This is done with fast and dynamic movements, provided that the plate that is
held cannot be separated from the dancer’s grip. Because, if the plate is released, then the
dancer will receive an extraordinary embarrassment, especially from the Minang people directly.
The movements used in the plate dance usually take from the traditional Minang silat movements.
Terutana for dances danced by men again. In addition, the plates brought by the
dancers will also collide with each other so that they will create a beautiful clinking sound.
However, there are also some dancers who deliberately use a ring on their middle finger to produce that ringing
After that, another distinctive feature of the plate dance is that there are specially arranged plates that
point towards the bride and groom. Then, the dancers will step on the arrangement of the plates
so that nothing is missed. If you have reached the end of the arrangement, the dancer will move
backwards by stepping back on the previous plate arrangement.
The dancer must not show his back, that’s why he must walk backwards. If the dancers make it
past the plate arrangement, they can worship the bride and groom three times as closure.
In extreme plate dance, the plate held by the dancer will be thrown to the floor to be broken.
Then, the dancers must continue the dance by dancing on the broken plate without feeling pain or
injury from the broken plate.
Plate Dance Movement
The plate dance is also known as a group dance performed by more than two dancers. The
distinctive feature of the plate dance performance is that the dancers carry plates in both hands with the
surface of the plate facing outwards. Then, the dancers will dance this dance with movements
that are agile, energetic, dynamic, and even tend to be acrobatic because they often display difficult
The dancers will move to the music that comes from a combination of the saluang and talempong musical
instruments. The tempo of the music used is initially soft and regular, but over time the tempo
of the music will change to become faster. The dancers also have to follow the beat of this
There are many types of plate dance movements. However, most of these movements originate from
several basic human movements in everyday life. This really reflects the history of the plate
dance as a dance used as an expression of gratitude for the abundance of a given harvest.
The plate dance movements are in the form of basiang movements, bacamin movements, mangompu suto movements,
buai anak movements, malunyah movements, bagolek movements, maiinjak piriang movements, and manyemba lalok
movements. Apart from everyday movements, plate dance movements also come from several things.
Like the reed babega moves, the basic pencak silat moves, the bungo kambang moves, the bagaluik
squirrel moves, and so on.
As for some of the movements in this traditional dance, it turns out that it was inspired by the gardening
movements carried out by the community. These movements are the singanjuo negligent movement,
weeding movement, hoeing movement, throwing garbage, fencing movement, pulling out seeds, sowing movement,
planting movement, unwinding movement, and pasambahan movement.
In addition, there are also movements inspired by rice planting activities. The movements
carried out are the motion of taking rice, the motion of delivering juadah, the motion of picking up rice,
the motion of aerating rice, the motion of manggampo rice, the motion of morning filing, the motion of
pounding rice, the motion of carrying rice, the motion of winnowing rice, the motion of stepping on broken
glass, and the motion of mutual cooperation .
The plate dance is a traditional dance originating from the Solok area, West Sumatra. This
dance, which also comes from Minangkabau custom, is usually performed by an odd number of dancers wearing
beautiful red or gold colored clothes.
The history of this plate dance began when the Minangkabau people used to make offerings to the Gods for an
abundant harvest. The offerings were placed on a plate and carried by the girls while twisting
their bodies to show their abilities before the Gods.
However, this tradition did not last long. After Islam entered the land of Sumatra and the
collapse of the Sriwijaya kingdom, the dance offerings to the Gods were no longer used.
Instead, this dance is used as a dance that is shown to kings and officials as a sign of
Apart from performing in front of the king, this dance is also performed in the ceremony of welcoming
guests of honor or guests of honor. After that, this dance was growing and popular among
ordinary people. The plate dance is also transformed as a means of entertainment in wedding
ceremonies, where the bride and groom are considered king and queen for a day.
So , that’s an explanation of the history of plate dance that has been summarized for Sinaumed’s.
Hopefully the information is useful, yes!
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