Tari Piriang (Plate Dance) – Minangkabau, West Sumatera


“Tari Piriang” performance at an special event, by UKM-ITB

Tari Piring (Plate Dance), or Tari Piriang in the Minangkabau language, is one of many traditional dances from West Sumatra province. This particular dance uses two plates tightly held by the dancers on the palm of their hands featuring quick, swaying motions. Tinging sounds occur when a dancer’s ringed finger comes in contact with the plate during movements.

Tari piring was originally a ritual performed by the locals immediately after a big harvest as gratitude to the Gods. This specific ritual was conducted by bringing offerings, such as food, presented on plates while at the same time performing these dance-like movements while walking. With the arrival of Islam, the tari piring tradition ceased to be a ritual practiced by the Minangkabau to thank the Gods but instead became a dance-like performance for various events. Upon the completion of a tari piring dance, plates are thrown to the floor and the dancers continue to perform atop the broken piece of plates.

Minangkabau’s traditional music instruments, the Talempong and the Saluang, commonly accompany tari piriang performances. The total number of dancers must be an odd number, ranging form three to seven performers. The combination of the music’s fast tempo and quick dance movements is dynamic and exhilarating to watch. The dancers wear bright color costumes, mostly of red and golden yellow colors.

1. History of “Tari Piring” in Minagkabau

Once upon a time, Minangkabau people still adored Gods, they believed that the Gods had given the overflow harvest and then protected them from the danger. Therefore the girl dancers would give their harvest to the Gods, put it on the plate. They would wear beautiful traditional clothing and behaved gently for making a formal appearance to the Gods. The offerings was brought to front of the Gods while they danced, contorted the plate for showing their skill. This was the beginning of the tari piriang (plate dance) in Minangkabau, it was since about 800 years ago.

This dance was developing till regime Sriwijaya. But after Sriwijaya down by Majapahit, many dancers moved to Melayu as refugee of Sriwijaya. Then in Minagkabau, happened the change of tari piriang because of entering Islam in the region. They didn’t need making offerings for the Gods. Therefore tari piriang, today, for entertaining the honor guest. Then this dance also as a offerings for welcoming guest at wedding party.

“Tari Piriang” performance at a wedding party for welcoming guest, by UKM-ITB

2. Characteristic of “Tari Piriang”

As we knew, that the plate for bringing offerings for the Gods and now it’s banned. So, the plate is empty or put a flashed candle on it.

Like the history, this dance only  danced by dancer/s that odd amount (like a dancer, three or seven dancers, and so on). Usually this dance is danced until 10-15 minutes because during the dance there will be a ritual of obeisance for the king or the bridegroom. The dancer have to wear beautiful traditional clothing, especially in bright red and gold pattern that believed as carrier of lucky and riches. Accompanist music like, talempong, gandang, saluang, rapa’i, tasa, sarunai, and bansi. Today, the music added bass and keyboard for making contemporary music.

Traditional and modern musical instrument Minangkabau, by UKM-ITB

Gandang, saluang, and talempong

3. Throwing Plate and Stampede the Plate

This is the moment, where your heart beat is going to faster or stop beating. The plate will be threw to the height, then make it be pieces and pedal on it while continue dancing.

the dancer is dancing on the pieces of plate, by GoSumatera.com

It show happiness for the harvest that is overflow. Magically, there is no injury on the feet of the dancer even if they don’t wear sandals.

“Tari piriang” has been showed in many nation festivals, even in international festivals or event of traditional culture. Like “Malam Indonesia : Love Indonesia, Love Japan” in Kyoto, Jepang 2013.

How beautiful Minagkabau! You can feel it as a son of Minagkabau, you can learn it wherever you are. You can find it every where as I can.

Sources :

  • Sejarah Asal Usul Tari Piring serta Perkembangannya, by Kumpulan Sejarah, http://www.portalsejarah.com/
  • Tari Piring : Dance Tradition from West Sumatra, by Kris Tjokro, http://www.tnol.asia/arts-culture/
  • Tari Piring, Seni Budaya Khas Sumatera Barat, by Ika Wahyuni, http://www.gosumatra.com/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s