Batak Dances

Entertainment on a Wedding and a Funeral

The Batak people pride themselves over their musical skills. Most of not all men on Samosir, claim they are great guitar players, with which they serenade and court women. Fact is, most Batak people, including those of female gender, are great singers, enthralling their audiences with slow and romantic songs. Dancing is part of the great rituals in life. Several musical instruments accompany traditional dances, which are inseparable part of the great rituals of life. They tend to be slow and repetitive with minimum movements, involved. However they sometimes go on all night, thus greatly testing the stamina of the dancers. Performances are set at weddings and funerals, with one famous and spectacular example being the sigale gale. The dancers carry on their hypnotic performance on the high pitched tones of a typical two-stringed violin and the dark beat of gondang, cloth covered metal gongs. All the while a life-size wooden puppet with a face resembling the face of the deceased, plays a central role. In old days, this puppet would be wheeled around a room as if to comfort the mourning family and friends.