More than 10,000 people, mostly from the ethnic Gayo community, took part in the performance, stressing the need to conserve a threatened national park in the westernmost province.

Participants take part in a mass traditional Saman dance performance in the Gayo Lues highland district in Aceh on Indonesia's Sumatra island on August 13, 2017.
Participants take part in a mass traditional Saman dance performance in the Gayo Lues highland district in Aceh on Indonesia's Sumatra island on August 13, 2017.

More than 10,000 people turned out in Indonesia's Aceh on Sunday to stage a record-breaking song and dance performance stressing the need to conserve a threatened national park in the westernmost province.

The men, clad in elaborate black and yellow traditional costumes, sat in neat rows, clapping their hands on their shoulders and laps and moving in an increasingly fast-paced rhythm to a traditional song.

The saman, or "the dance of a thousand hands", is one of the country's most popular. In 2011 it was included in the UNESCO list of items of intangible cultural heritage.

The event was aimed at attracting more visitors to the province, the head of the local tourism agency, Syafruddin, said.

The men, mostly from the ethnic Gayo community, made occasional wave-like movements without breaking formation.

Their song focused on the importance of protecting the province's Mount Leuser National Park, home to rare Sumatran tigers and elephants, which is threatened by rampant poaching and rainforest destruction due to the expansion of palm oil plantations.

Thousands of spectators flocked to an open field tucked amid lush green hills in Gayo Lues district to watch the performance.

The Indonesian Museum of Record certified it as breaking a national record with 10,001 participants –beating last year's record of 6,600.

The dance is usually accompanied by a song performed in unison. It emphasises teamwork, a symbol of unity.

TRT World's Staci Bivens has more.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies