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Home » Padang » Tari Payung: the Parasol dance of Minangkabau

Tari Payung: the Parasol dance of Minangkabau

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Music and Dance are an inseparable part of the Minangkabau ethnic culture of West Sumatra. For  royal events or grand celebrations there is the dramatic Tari Piring or the Plate Dance; for folk festivities there is the fascinating Dance-Drama of Randai; and to symbolize romance between couples , which is frequently performed during wedding celebrations, there  is the unique Tari Payung or The Parasol Dance.


As the name suggests, the dance uses Parasols or traditional, decorated paper umbrellas as the main highlight. Performed by 3 or 4 pairs of male and female dancers, the parasols are held by the men as a symbol to keep save or protect and shelter their spouses. The women wear distinct Minangkabau shawls to complement the costumes and also symbolize their willingness to start a family.


The dance is accompanied by a dynamic musical score. The rhythm starts with a slow tempo which gradually turns faster to keep up with the pace of the choreography. The changing pace of the music adds its own unique vibrant ambience to the performance. Playing the distinct Minangkabau melodies, the musical ensemble usually consists of a gong, rebana, accordion, gendang, talempong, and occasionally Saluang players.


The dance has a distinct accompanying theme song called “Babendi-bendi ke Sungai Tanang”. This classic Minangkabau song tells the story of a newlywed couple as they spend their honeymoon in a place called Sungai Tanang or the river of Tanang.


Aside from its original form, the dance has today also evolved and is being collaborated with modern influences, emerging as a contemporary art form. Today’s performers and artists of West Sumatra continue to explore all possible innovations to develop the Tari Payung into a more contemporary performarmance.       

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Tari Payung: the Parasol dance of Minangkabau

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