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Home » Padang » Tari Piring: The Dramatic Plate Dance of the Minangkabau

Tari Piring: The Dramatic Plate Dance of the Minangkabau

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The scrumptious Padang cuisine may be the most indulging taste served on West Sumatra’s plates, but the most astounding thing the Minangkabau can work on their plates is through the dramatic performance of Tari Piring or the Plate Dance.


Locally known as Tari Piriang (Minangkabau language for Plate), the attractive dance originates from the city of Solok, about 60Km east of Padang, capital of West Sumatra.


The dance showcases an exceptional feature of placing porcelain or ceramic plates on both open palms of dancers as they perform fast and vibrant choreographies that involve the swaying of plates to every direction and even turning them upside down with their palms turned down.  Amazingly, whatever energetic moves the dancers make, the plates continue to stick as if glued to their palms.


As dramatic climax, at the end of the dance the dancers smash the plates onto the floor, deliberately breaking them into sharp pieces. The dancers will then continue dancing on the pointed shards, remaining completely uninjured.  This action of artists leaping onto piles of pointed shards is considered the magic of Tari Piring.


Originally the dance was a solo performance, but  later it transformed into a  group dance performed by a number of dancers. Although both males or females can perform the dance, uniquely, the Minangkabau adhere to a strict rule : that dancers must be odd  in number.  For this performance, dancers wear traditional Minangkabau costumes featuring the bright color combinations of red, yellow and gold.


Although the Gong and Rebana were the initial musical instruments accompanying the Tari Piring, yet  over time, the dance was made more lively with the enchanting harmony of the Talempong and Saluang. The dancers also wear rings on their fingers, which they click onto the plates, creating  unique rhythmic sounds.


Originally, the dance symbolized the gratefulness of the people to the Almighty God , which was  performed as a ritual during the harvest time. As the influence of Islam spread through the area, the dance relinquished its ritual meaning and evolved into an attractive presentation at weddings, welcoming guests of honor, as well as  presented during other special celebrations. If initially Tari Piring was considered an exclusive art to be shown for the royal family and performed exclusively in palaces or at royal occasions, with time it evolved extensively into a form of folk entertainment.


There are no clear records that can firmly determine the time when Tari Piring was created,  however several sources indicate that this special art form has existed since 800 years ago. The dance is believed to have developed during the golden era of the Sriwijaya Kingdom on Sumatra up to the rise of the Majapahit Kingdom on Java in the 16th century. The arrival of Majapahit on Sumatra drove many Sriwijayan aristocrats to other parts of the archipelago, thus the dance can also be found in other areas, including in the neighboring country of Malaysia.


If you wish to learn more about this exceptional art form, you can visit:


Tari Tuah Saiyo Traditional Dance Club
Jl.Batang Tarusan Dalam, No.6A, Padang Baru Timur.

Contact Persons:
Harisnal Hadi: +62 8136 325 9353
Sriwahyuni: +62 8526 371 0308

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