Saman dance is the dance from Gayo (Gayonese) Aceh, northern Sumatra island. Named Saman dance because it was created by a clerics named Sheikh Saman in XIV century AD from the highlands of Gayo. Saman dance is reflection of education, religion, manners, heroism, teamwork and togetherness.
Saman dance uses two basic element movements, which are the applauses and a pat on the chest. In Saman dance, after sometime the rhythm and movements become faster and makes the Saman Dance more interesting.
Traditional clothing for Saman dance are shirt and trouser, hat-shaped rolls, and a scabbard (sarong) and they are colorful. Clothes have to slightly loose in order to dance freely.
And there is still sarong worn below the belly with variety kinds of belts.
Saman dance is not only popular in Indonesia but also overseas and it is often played in foreign countries.
On November 24, 2011 UNESCO officially recognized Aceh’s traditional Saman Dance as an intangible element of world cultural heritage, which needs UNESCO’s urgent protection
The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) named on Saman Dance as the best ASEAN cultural preservation effort at the 25th ASEANTA Awards for Excellence 2012 (Wikipedia).
Saman Dance – Gayonese Traditional Dance – Sumatra, Indonesia
The art of dance became one the richness cultur that is owned by Indonesia. Each region has a dance with its own uniqueness.
Mask Dance from Cirebon in West Java is a dance that is full of meaningful symbols which are expected to be understood by its audience. Symbols can be a value of leadership, love, or wisdom.
Mask dance was developed a lot in Cirebon in West Java. It became famous because of the expression of movements. The dancers covered their face with a mask when dancing, that is why it is called by the name Mask dance. This dance is usually performed by one or several beautiful dancers, the singers, and some men who play musical instruments.
Symbols and meaning of a Mask Dance performance are delivered through the mask colors, sum of masks, the number of gamelan players and naturally through the dance itself.
Mask Dance Movement which is played by the dancers in each performance is different, depending on the theme that will be displayed.
After some swirling movement the dancers cover the face with a cloth that contains the mask, then put the mask on the face as a symbol that the show has begun.
A similar process is performed when the dancers change the mask with a red mask. Uniquely, along with the change of the mask, the music accompanying will become loud. The loudest music is played when a red mask is worn by the dancers. These movements are a form of opening dance in the mask dance performances.
Cirebon Mask Dance
The one of mask dance maestro was Mimi Rasinah, an active dancer and teacher of studio art at The Mask Dance Mimi Rasinahlocated in the village Pekandangan, Indramayu . Since 2006 Mimi Rasinah was suffering from paralysis, but still excited to performe, dancing and teaching mask dance until the end of her life. Mimi Rasinah died in August 2010 at the age of 80 years.
Cultural and creative arts in Bali are extremely diverse, one of them is the art of dance and from various dances that exist in Bali, Legong dance is one of the dances that are worth to be watched. This dance is a Balinese cultural heritage that has undergone many developments.
Legong Dance in Bali culture is included in the type of classical dance, which at the beginning of its development originated from the royal palace in Bali. The dance was once only enjoyed by the noble families in their neighborhood in the palace as a dance entertainment. The dancers who have been asked to dance in front of the king will certainly feel a great pleasure, because not everyone is allowed to enter the palace.
The use of “Legong” word in the dance is a combination of the word ‘leg’ and ‘gong’. The word of ‘leg’ means flexibility and dynamically as the depiction of the dance movement that is performed by female dancers and “gong” means gamelan Balinese gamelan  as a musical instrument that accompanies this dance.
Pura Uluwatu is one of the famous temples in Bali. The main attraction for the tourists of this temple is a spectacular panorama which is a blend of both natural and religious attractions. As one of the mainstay tourist on the island of Bali, Uluwatu is located at the southern tip of Bali island and towards the Indian Ocean.
The temple stands firmly jutting into the sea on rocks with a height of about 97 meters from the sea surface. In front of the temple there is a small forest called “Alas Kekeran”, which serves as a purity temple buffer. On the waterfront, visitors can see the marine atmosphere that comfort the soul and mind. The temple, located on the rock has become one of the historical attractions because it dates back to 1489 BC, beginning with the arrival of a priest from East Java named Danghyang Dwijendra.
To be able to enter into the temple, visitors must wear a sarong and scarf that can be rented in that place to respect the religious life of the Balinese who are mostly Hindus and have a great respect for the place of their worship.
The best time to visit Uluwatu temple is in the evening, at sunset time, so they can watch the spectacular scenery. In addition visitors can also see one of the cultural attractions that pretty typical in Bali Island, namely the Kecak dance which is quite popular both domestic and abroad. This Balinese dance become one of leading cultural attractions.
Kecak dance is performed by many of the male dancers, sitting in a circle and with a certain rhythm shouting and raised both their arms. The dancers that are sitting in a circle wear a plaid cloths around their waist. Besides the dancers, there are other dancers who portray the characters of Ramayana like Rama, Shinta, Ravana, Hanuman and Sugriva. Kecak dance songs are taken from the ritual dances sanghyang that is traditional dance. Dancers will be in an trance condition, communicating with God or the spirits of the ancestors and then convey the expectations of the spirits to the society.
Unlike other Balinese dance that uses the gamelan as a musical accompaniment, Kecak dance performances are only the art of combining sounds of the mouth or shouts like “cak cak ke cak cak ke”, so this dance called The Kecak dance. The Kecak dance can be found at several places in Bali, but at Uluwatu is the most interesting to watch, because the show performed at the sunset.
Next to Pura Uluwatu, there is the famous Uluwatu beach with the cool waves that makes Uluwatu beach become a haven for the Surfer.
Uluwatu beach is suitable to be used by sports fans of surfing and almost every year is held an international surfing competition. This activity also serves to facilitate promotion, especially to foreign tourists and many countries in the world to get to know more about Indonesia that is rich in cultures.
Around the temple complex there are a bunch of monkeys. The mischievous monkeys are generally prefer to take a wide variety of items carried by the visitors. Goods which often become the target are glasses, purse, wallet or anything that can be easily taken by them.
Prambanan is the largest Hindus temple in Southeast Asia. Its location which is not far from the temple of Borobudur as if to show about the harmony between the Buddhists and Hindus in Java, not just in the past but also today. Administratively, this temple is located on the border of Central Java and Yogyakarta, 17 kilometers from the center of Yogyakarta, in the middle area that is now built a beautiful park.
The temple that by the local community is known by the name Roro Jonggrang, has a legend. Long ago there was a powerful and magical young man who wanted to marry a beautiful princess named Roro Jonggrang. The king who also the father of the Princess had forced her to marry “Bandung Bondowoso”. He is the prince of the neighboring kingdom. Roro Jonggrang did not love him but could not reject it anyway. After a long consideration, she finally gave one condition to Bandung Bondowoso to build 1000 temples and promised to marry him if her requirements could be resolved before dawn.
Roro Jonggrang requested that the work had to be completed before the rooster crowed that she thought it was impossible. But the magical Bandung Bondowoso nearly could complete the 999 temples with the help of Jinnand his strength.
Roro Jonggrang asked the women in the village to start hitting the rice, to make the chickens woke up and began to crow. Bondowoso was very disappointed with her behavior, then changed her into a stone which is now known as Prambanan Temple, while the nearby temple called Sewu Temple or a thousand temples.
Prambanan temple was built in the 9th century, dedicated to the God Shiva (the destroyer), and two at each side dedicated to the God Brahma (the creator) and God Vishnu (the keepers). The highest temple is 47 meters 5 meters higher than Borobudur temple and also among other temples in the vicinity. The foundation of this temple has fulfilled the desire to show Hindu triumph in the island of Java.
Prambanan also has temple reliefs, which contains the story of Ramayana. According to experts, the relief is similar to the Ramayana story revealed through oral tradition. Another interesting relief is Kalpataru tree that the Hindu religion is considered as a tree of life, sustainability and environmental compatibility. At Prambanan, reliefs of Kalpataru trees depicted flanking the lion. The existence of this tree makes experts consider that the ninth century had wisdom to manage their environment.
Prambanan was rediscovered by a Dutch citizen named CA Lons in 1733 after hundred years neglected. This temple has been renovated and is now known as the most beautiful Hindus temple in Indonesia.
The beauty and complexity of the architecture Prambanan as a very beautiful building has been named as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1991.
Ramayana – Performing Arts at Prambanan Temple
Ramayana ballet is a dance drama, which tells the story of Ramayana, especially about Rama who is a legendary Hindus king and also can be said as the incarnation of God. This drama tells the story of Rama’s bravery.This famous drama, held at Prambanan Temple courtyard area in the form of dance. Ramayana ballet drama at Prambanan are usually held on the period of full moon to be enjoyed by visitors on various dates in that period of approximately six months. The dancers demonstrate their dancing skills to the audience in the beautiful traditional outfit.
Ramayana Dance drama at Prambanan temple is different from the original story in India, it reflects the result of adaptation with Java culture for years and it is one of the best dance performance in Indonesian.
In this show not only the music and dance are carefully prepared, lighting has also been prepared in detail. This provides more value, because the light is not a torch light only, but much light from the lamp are designed to describe the events and moods of the characters.
Prambanan Ramayana Ballet won the international award “PATA Gold Award 2012” beat 180 contestants from 79 countries in category “Heritage and Culture”, which is obtained at the annual conference of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 21 April 2012.
Birds of Paradise that are typical of Papuan birds, Indonesian peoples call them by the name Cenderawasih, especially males, they have a beautiful hair like an angel coming down from heaven with a very beautiful fur.
Birds of Paradise are collection of bird species that are grouped in families Paradisaeidae derived from the word Paradise.
Birds that found only in eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and eastern Australia consists of 14 genus and about 43 species, 30 species of them can be found in Indonesia, 28 species of them living on the island of Papua. Indonesia is a country with the largest numbers of the Cenderawasih species.
The Birds of Paradise have a beautiful fur characteristics possessed by the male birds. Generally light-colored fur with a combination of several colors like black, brown, red, orange, yellow, white, blue, green and purple and the size of the birds are various.
The beauty of fur from male used to attract the opposite sex. To attract the attention of females that are willing are invited mating, the male bird will show off fur to make beautiful dances. While singing on the branches, swaying with different movements in different directions.
Sometimes even up hanging upside down rely on branches. However, each species of Cenderawasih would have their own dances.
Populations of birds of Cenderawasih in Papua are endangered. The road project workers and employers in the area of forest often hunted birds for sale, either because of low salaries or for other reasons they often slept in the woods to catch the birds. The price a dead bird of Cenderawasih can be up to millions of rupiah in foreign countries, much higher for those which are still alive.
There are 11 types of Cenderawasih that are still roam in 13 districts in Papua, but has not been recorded. One time the population of Cenderawasih in Papua would be extinct. The reason is, there is no proper maintenance and care, while the forests in Papua from year to year continues to be cleared (deforestation).
The most famous birds of paradise, are the member of the genus Paradisaea, including species of large yellow of paradise, Paradisaea apoda. This species is described from specimens were taken to Europe from trading expeditions. The specimen was prepared by native traders by removing the wings and legs in order to be decorated. It is not known by the explorers and lead to the belief that these birds never landed but remain in the air because of feathers. This is the origin of the name bird of paradiseand apoda name which means no legs.
Communities in Papua often wear fur Bird of Paradise (Cenderawasih), in their dress and customs, and a few centuries ago, fur were important for making women’s hats in Europe. Hunting fur and habitat destruction causes a decrease in the number of Cenderawasih in a few species, endangered their species, also their habitats. Deforestation is still a major threat.