|Xoe dance is performed at an event in Yen Bai province. (Photo: VOV)
No one knows exactly when and where Xoe dance originated but this art genre has long been indispensable at every festival and important event of the Thai people.
The dances symbolize beauty and combine the artistic values of dance, music, singing, costumes, cuisine, and customs of the Thai community. Xoe mimics people’s actions during rituals, weddings, festivals, and community events. Thai people of any age, gender, or social position can participate in Xoe music and dance.
For the Thai in Nghia Lo town, Yen Bai province, a raft-shaped musical instrument called a Khen be is an essential part of folk songs and folk dances. This type of panpipe is a cultural and spiritual symbol associated with love and the soul, and an indispensable accompaniment to all Xoe dances.
|The drum is essential in Xoe as they maintain the rhythm of the dance. (Photo: VOV)
Drums are inseparable in Xoe dances. Their echo invites everyone in earshot to come attend the performance. There are two kinds of drums: big and small. Big drums are used for spring festivals and village rituals. Small drums are used to announce the death of the village head, the arrival of the enemy, or another important event.
“Drums are essential in Xoe as they maintain the rhythm of the dance. I’m learning how to play them so I can teach my own pupils and help preserve our culture,” said Le Thanh Tung of Nghia Lo town.
Another musical instrument that contributes to making the night more vibrant is the gong. Gongs are usually made from brass shaped like a round hat 20 to 60 cm in diameter. People strike the gongs with their hands or wooden sticks padded with soft cloth.
“Each ethnic group has their own culture. We’re proud of our Xoe dance,” said Lo Van Bien of Nghia Lo town.
The Xoe dance of the Thai ethnic people in Vietnam’s northwestern region has been recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.