Last update: 10:10 | 24/02/2019
Every year, from the ninth to the 12th day of the lunar calendar, villagers in Trieu Khuc (Thanh Tri district, Hanoi) eagerly enjoy their traditional Trieu Khuc village festival, with the highlight “danh bong” dance - featuring feminine gestures and movements but performed by young men in the village.
The folk dance, which dates back hundreds of years, is not only a unique cultural product, but is also the pride of the Trieu Khuc people. The dance has been preserved and performed as an indispensable part of the village festival, thanks to the efforts of the elderly artists who passed on their passion on preserving the dance on to the next generations.
A palanquin procession followed by lion and dragon dances by the local men kick started the festival.
The men wear make-up and dress up so that they look like girls. Each also wears a small drum painted in red in front of their stomach.
The person who helps with the make-up is bong dancing artist Trieu Dinh Hong, 74, the last one in the village who can teach the bong dance.
This year, the folk dance in the Trieu Khuc village festival was recognised as an intangible cultural heritage.
Nguyen Van Chi Hieu, 17, who has participated in bong dancing for five years said: “In the beginning, I was embarrassed but now I feel more happy. The hardest part in the dance lies in the eye contact. It must be really swinging and romantic when making eye contact with your dancing partner.”
The dancers will dance and pat their small drums according to the resounding sound of the big sole drum, while smiling and making eye contact. The dance must be liberal and strong, but also very soft and flexible.
The Bong dance in Trieu Khuc village is performed in pairs, often dancing in poses back to back or face to face, with symmetrical movement. In particular, there are movements leaning on each other and dancing in flexible movements which are meant to provide happiness.
Besides the dance, the palanquin procession for Bo Cai Dai Vuong (Great King) Phung Hung - a military leader who reigned over Vietnam during the 8th century, is also another highlight of the festival.
Girls dance in a backward direction as following the traditional custom during the procession.
When the procession of Bo Cai Dai Vuong Phung Hung passes, local people express their reverence and pray that he will bring good luck in the new lunar year.
Along the road, the villagers also hold rituals with offerings during the procession.
Until now, Trieu Khuc still retains its rituals and dances with the spiritual essence and beauty of the traditional festivals in Hanoi for thousands of years.