The vibrant traditional dance from the province of Aceh , the Saman Dance has been acknowledged by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as an  Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World. Its official announcement is scheduled to take place at the UNESCO Conference to be held in Bali, on November 19th 201, said Department Head for Cultural and Tourism Resources of Ministry of Culture and Tourism, I Gede Pitana as reported by With the acknowledgement of the Saman Dance, more of Indonesia’s authentic cultural expressions has been recognized as World Intangible Heritage, following listing of the Wayang, the Keris, Batik and the Angklung, said Director Pitana.

Performed by a group of dancers wearing mostly colorful and bright traditional costumes, the Saman Dance relies heavily on precision and synchronization of movement of each member in the team, making this a most dramatic and fascinating performance.  Standing or kneeling tightly close to each other, the dancers sing and move in perfect sync, in an increasingly accelerating tempo.  A single mistake will definitely mess up the entire routine.  

The Saman is a development of an Acehnese dance called the Pok Pok Ane. It is the singing of a poem, which is combined with the clapping of hands, and slaps on the chest and thighs which create its rhythm. The Saman Dance is truly an entertaining performance wheret only beautiful minds can create such exquisite and artful techniques.

“The acknowledgment has passed through a long and complicated process, and we hope there will be more of world cultural heritage in Indonesia that will be recognized and listed by UNESCO in the years to come,” commented Pitana. He further added that the efforts of entering the Saman Dance has taken several years before it finally made it to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

There are 890 sites today listed as UNESCO world heritage, with 689 in the cultural heritage, 176 natural heritage, and 25 cultural and natural mixed heritage. Among the total, Indonesia obtained 11 of listed heritage, including 4 in Natural Heritage, 3 in Cultural reserves, and 4 iin the Intangible Heritage category.

Indonesia’s Natural Heritage parks that are in the UNESCO World’s Heritage List include: the Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten, the Komodo National Park in East Nusatenggara, the Lorentz National Park in Papua, and the tropical rainforests of Sumatra. While the Borobudur and Prambanan temples along with the Sangiran pre-historic Site on Java make up the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites of Indonesia.