Before being called Seudati, this perfor-mance was named Ratoh which means to tell. Ratoh was used to tell about al: aspects of the people's life using happy. sad and courageous stories. Islam disseminators mostly come from the Arab land, so the Arabic language was used in carrying out their task. That is the reason why Ratoh gat influenced by the Arabic terminology such as syahadatain and syahadati and saman became meusa-man which means eight persons. Both terms are still in use up till now. There are also people who say that seudati is derived from the word seurai which means in harmony or unified.
Pattern of performance
The Seudati performance is led by a Syech who has two assistants named Apek Syech who sit at both ends of the front row. There are eight players in the seudati dance and they are divided into two rows, meaning that each row consists of four players. In the seudati performance which is made up of several parts, the Syech leads the players in singing the songs and in performing his task the Syech is assist-ed by the Apek Syechs and other singers who are called Aneuk Syahi. The Aneuk Syahis place themselves at the right and left side of the stage. The Seudati perfor-mance is initiated by "saleum" or welcome greetings from the Aneuk Syahi while the other players make start the movements of the performance with for instance, tapping their chests, making swaying movement, flicking their finger tips according the rhythm. After that then comes the Sych's, turn to say his introduction which is followed by all players including Aneuk Syahi. The intro-duction of Aneuk Syahi or of the Syech together with all players is directed to the audience. The introduction relays words of welcome as well as gratitude to the host and the audience.
The pattern is as follows
- Bak Saman : Bak Saman is a position where all players stand up and make a circle in the middle of the stage to tune their voice and to decide the likok.
- Likok is the dance movement made by the players without any sound except the voice of the Ancuk Syahi' Likok shows the harmony as well 'as the agility and the skill of the players, move-ment according with the rhythm in command of the Aneuk Syahi when he mentions certain words. At the same moment the other players make a spe-cial movement and the speed of the movement depends on the speed of the Aneuk Syahi's command.
- Saman is first said by the Syech anc.: followed by the other players un reply. Then the Aneuk Syahi reads various poems or rhymed verses which contain advice or jokes.
- Lanie is the final dance, performed the end of one act. It is meant to relax the audience after concentrating on the previous act's movements. Lanie an important part of the Saudati per-formance especially in competitions.
It has become customary that the relayed in a Seudati performance dc71- tales of kings of the early ages, gives gious messages, education and other that awakens the spirit.
There are ten players in the Seucia formance of which eight are dancers the rest are called Aneuk Syahi. One of the dancers is named as leader who is called Syeeh. Meanwhile, the Aneuk Svahis arc youngest of all the performars and th duty is to sing the rhymed verses as back-ground of dancers.
The Seudati dance is not accompanied by any musical instruments. The tempo and the rhythm of the dance are dettermined by the rhythm and the tempo of the song sung by the performers themselves; the rhymed verses and the songs that are sung by the Aneuk Syahis or the Syech and followed by the other dancers.