An event dubbed "10,001 Saman Dancers" brought together 12,262 dancers at the Thousand Hills Stadium in Blangkejeren city, Gayo Lues, Aceh, on Aug. 13.
The event was listed at the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) for the most Saman dance participants.
Aceh Tourism Agency head Reza Pahlevi said in 2014, the traditional dance broke a record with 5,057 people and was listed at MURI in the same category. It was awarded after UNESCO declared the Saman dance a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity in 2011.
“This event is a collaboration between the Aceh and the Gayo Lues administrations. After being listed as a world heritage by UNESCO, the Saman dance doesn’t belong just to the people of Gayo Lues but also to the people of the world. Let's preserve it together,” said Reza.
Gayo Lues Regent Ibnu Hasyim voiced hope that the event would also serve as a reminder of Syekh Samman.
“This 10,001 Saman Dancers event will remind people, especially youth, of Syekh Samman, who made the country proud through his works,” said Ibnu.
The Saman is a traditional dance from Tanoh Rencong. It is one of the dances taught at school.
Performing this dance requires total concentration. It begins with slow swaying movements that become faster and faster toward the end.
“The Saman has a high difficulty level; mastering it requires physical endurance, quick and synchronized body movements between dancers and understanding of the song,” Ibnu said.
“It’s not only how fast the movement is, but also how the dancers stay in sync while performing at high speed, which is why practice and discipline are required in order to perform a fascinating Saman dance,” Ibnu added.