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Home » Stunning Samosir Island » The age old mystical Batak Tor-Tor Dance

The age old mystical Batak Tor-Tor Dance

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  1. Stunning Samosir Island

  2. Stunning Samosir Island

  3. Stunning Samosir Island

  4. Stunning Samosir Island



An age old ritual dance of the Batak ethnic group around magnificent Lake Toba, dating before the arrival of Islam and Christianity to the area - is the Tor-Tor dance, which is accompanied by a small orchestra of traditional musical instruments called margondang.

Originally a dance to invoke the spirits to ward off evil and disaster from the village and its community, the Tor-Tor has evolved as a dance performed at deaths, weddings, celebrations and lately also to welcome honored guests.

In the village of Simanindo on Samosir island, a shaman invokes the spirits to enter a human-sized male puppet, - called  sigale-gale, who then starts to perform, its clasped hands moving regularly and stiffly up and down.  These movements are then repeated by the female dancers who move around sigale-gale. These repetitive movements, accompanied by the fast and persistent beat of the music in the background and the melodic overtones of the flute create the enthralling mystical atmosphere.  The costumes worn by the sigale-gale as well as by the female dancers complete the aura of mystery beyond the natural world.  

The Batak know a number of Tor-Tor dances.

The Tor-Tor Pangurason is a dance to cleanse the environment from evil spirits and to avert danger.

While the Tor-Tor Sipitu Grail – or the dance of the 7 bowls – is a dance exclusively performed at the inauguration of a king or chieftain.

The Tor-Tor Panaluan, on the other hand, is more cultural in nature and is performed after natural disasters to cleanse the village from evil. 


To observe some of the amazing scenery around lake Toba, you can visit our Photo Essay:The Incredible Lake Toba and Samosir Island

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The age old mystical Batak Tor-Tor Dance

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