The Seudati Dance is a very popular dance from North Sumatra, or Aceh. It was formerly a court-dance which took the form of a patriots dance, describing the prowess of the Aceh patriots who are about to proceed to the battle-field Now the dance is the property of all the people, and used as an impetus for their patriotism.
There are two Seudati dances, one danced by men only, called Seudati Agam, and the other, danced by women only, called Sudati
Each Seudati Dance is danced by ten men or ten women. When it is danced by men (Seudati Agam) the ten dancers are divided according to their function in the dance; one Aneuk Seudati, or the child of Seudati, one Adoee or younger brother, and eight Dalam or Aduen or elder brothers. One of the eight Dalam is called Sheik or leader, and there is an Apet Sheik or deputy leader. The six others are called Rakan or Kawan, meaning friends.
The performance of the Seudati dance is sometimes very long; there is even one which begins at 8 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. The stage is an open field. The dance can be very exciting when there is a competition between two neighbouring villages, each with its own Seudati team.
The patriotic nature of the Seudati Dance is seen chiefly from, the costume of the Seudati Agam, consisting of a long white right shirt, long white or black trousers, a sarong (a cloth wrapped round the under part of the body worn above the knees), selendang (scarf) fastened round the waist, rencong (short sword) and a head cloth. The dance is very gay and vigorous, varied by frequent rhythmical clapping on the breast. As they dance the dancers sing in turn stories showing the greatness of Aceh in the past.
THE RANDAI DANCE
The Randai Dance is from. West Sumatra and is danced by several men wearing a costume called the galembong. The galembong consists of a wide black jacket called teluk belanga, long trousers, and a head cloth. The accompanying musical instruments consist of a talempong (like the Javanese bonang with the difference that it consists of only five parts); rebana (tambourine); ralung (a kind of flute); and kendang (drum).
As they dance, the dancers sing about the greatness of Minangkabau in the past. A Randai dance performance often lasts six hours.
THE INDANG DANCE
Indang is the name of the rebana or little tambourine used as a musical instrument in this dance. The dancers are men, all of whom wear galembong costumes. The indang,s used as musical instruments to accompany this dance are of the same number as the dancers, because each dancer carries an indang with him. The number of the dancers is not fixed, sometimes seven, sometimes nine, but usually an uneven number. They - dance in a sitting -position and do not change places. While they dance they tell stories whose purpose is to convert people to Islam.
THE SELENDANG DANCE
The Selendang Dance is a war-dance from West Sumatra. The dancers consist of several men, all wearing galembong costumes.