Bowl folk dance of Tay ethnic minority people

(VOVWORLD) - Tay ethnic minority people in the mountainous province of Bac Kan have held on to their cultural values, including poems, folk songs, and festivals, for generations. The bowl folk dancing is a popular dance and has long been attached to their daily life and agricultural production.

Bowl folk dance of Tay ethnic minority people  - ảnh 1Veteran artisans in Dong Xa commune teach young people bowl folk dance. (Photo: VOV)

Dong Xa commune in Na Ri district is said to be the place where Tay ethnic people first inhabited. For hundreds of years, the Tay have managed to maintain their cultural values through their costumes, houses, and art.

No one knows for sure when the bowl folk dance first appeared, but it has been preserved for many generations. According to legend, bowl dance describes the weaving activities of the Tay people in the past. The instrument used for performing this dance includes a bowl and chopsticks which are used in daily meals. The bowl is used for silk incubation while the chopsticks are used for stirring the compressed silk in the bowl. People must stir evenly to let the silk threads roll into the chopsticks. This movement is repeated many times until there is enough silk to weave the fabric.

Another legend says the bowl folk dance originated from the Tay festival of praying for crops and new rice festival, thus bowls and chopsticks are used for the dance.

“Bowl folk dance has been handed down by the Tay people for hundreds of years. We are now teaching young people the bowl folk dance to preserve and promote it,” said Ms. Nong Thi Oanh, the head of Dong Xa commune’s Culture and Sports Club for the Elderly.

To perform bowl folk dance, you must know how to keep exact rhythm and combine the movement of the arms and feet. The performers dance to the steady rhythm of bowls and chopsticks, showing their wish for a bumper crop.

Bowl folk dance can be performed in a flash mob form at a village festival, the Lunar New Year, or market day. When visiting Tay ethnic villages by Ba Be lake, visitors can immerse themselves in the primitive beauty of the mountains and forests as well as the folk music handed down for generations. Ms. Nong Thu Bien, head of the art troupe of Coc Toc hamlet, Be Be district, said bowl folk dance has been modified to serve tourism purposes.

“Our art troupe performs bowl dance every Thursday. The dance is highly appreciated by both domestic and foreign tourists,” said Bien.

Bowl folk dance of Tay ethnic minority people  - ảnh 2Bowl folk dance is taught at schools in Bac Kan province. (Photo: VOV) 

To implement a project combining the promotion of traditional cultural values and tourism development in Ba Be, Bac Kan province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has set up folk art troupes to provide training for songs and dances, including bowl folk dance. Folk art troupes are also set up in local boarding schools. 

“Through bowl folk dance, I better understand the life of our predecessors in the past. I will continue to practice the dance and hope to spread it to other areas,” said Nong Thi Viet Hoa, a pupil in Cho Chua hamlet, Na Ri district.

The bowl folk dance of Tay people has been recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.