Staffordshire Students Discover the Magic of Traditional Saman Dance at the Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Airlangga

    A group of 16 students from Staffordshire University (UK) visits Universitas Airlangga this summer. They are staying for a month. During summer visit, the Staffordshire students will learn about Indonesian culture and experience studying in a new place.
    One of the highlights of their adventure came on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, when they were introduced to the mesmerizing world of Saman dance. Originating from the Gayo ethnicity in Aceh, Indonesia, Saman dance holds a special place in the hearts of Indonesians. Also known as the "Dance of a Thousand Hands," it is celebrated for its fast-paced movements and intricate hand gestures.

    The Staffordshire students were guided and taught by a student community at Universitas Airlangga called Edsaman, which is part of EDSA. With their expertise and passion, the seven representatives of Edsaman served as mentors and teachers, eager to share their love for Saman dance.

    The introduction began with a little bit of explanation and an engaging video showcasing the beauty and grace of the Saman dance. The Staffordshire students watched very seriously and they couldn't wait to learn this dance.

    After the video, it was time to put theory into practice. The Edsaman students had the Staffordshire students sit in a straight line to learn the correct formation for the Saman dance. Starting with the basics, they patiently guided the Staffordshire students through each movement, ensuring they felt comfortable and confident.

    Besides learning the basic movements, which include hand movements, they also learn one of the iconic moves from this dance called "Haila otsa." Haila otsa is a movement where they alternate in performing an up and down motion.

    "The hardest part is when one hand claps the other and then changes it fastly, I couldn't follow and handle it", said Danny, one of the Staffordshire students.
    They also learn in groups. They were formed into 3 groups to study and review the movements they have learned.

    "It was really interesting and it was also challenging because there was a lot of movement," as mentioned by Sahra, one of the participants.

    After the learning session concluded, the students from Staffordshire University and their mentors from Edsaman gathered for a group photo, each wearing the iconic "Bulung Teleng," a traditional headband from the Saman dance costume. The vibrant headband adds a splash of color and authenticity to their experience, making the moment even more memorable.

    Besides learning the Saman dance, the Staffordshire students have many more activities planned. They will keep exploring Indonesian culture during their stay at Universitas Airlangga, looking forward to more exciting experiences in the days ahead.

Content Writer : Monica Devina Purbaningtyas
Editor : Nailabila Salgrisia Ayoumi