Tay ethnic dancing recognised as national intangible cultural heritage

Xoe dancing, an indispensible activity in the cultural life of the Tay ethnic people in Ta Chai commune, Bac Ha district, northern Lao Cai province, has been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage.


Tay women in Bac Ha district, Lao Cai province perfom Xoe dancing

The People’s Committee of Bac Ha district held a ceremony on March 4 to receive the honour.

As spring approaches, the Bac Ha plateau is flooded with white plum flowers and crowds of local and international visitors to enjoy xoe dancing to the sounds of boisterous musical instruments. 

Artist Lam Van Sun said the dance was traditionally performed for the Hoang A Tuong family – the richest and most powerful in the Bac Ha mountainous area. 

Nowadays, it has become a vital activity in Ta Chai and Na Hoi commune festivals. 

The Ta Chai xoe festival is normally organised on the occasion of the New Year to pray for strong crops and good health. The whole community is familiar with the dance, Sun said. 

Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Huu Son said xoe is the result of interactions with the French valse. 

When the French created the dancing teams for the Hoang A Tuong palace, they unintentionally brought the valse rhythm to xoe dancing, differentiating it from the Muong xoe and Thai xoe. 

Chairman of the Ta Chai communal People’s Committee Vang Van Khuong said to preserve and promote xoe dancing, the commune will establish additional xoe troupes and bring it to schools while developing the dance through the promotion of community tourism. 

So far, Ta Chai has five xoe troupes in Na Kim, Na Pac Ngam, Na Lo, Na Lang and Na Ho hamlets, each with 12 to 15 members. 

The Bac Ha district has over 30 xoe dancing troupes in total. The dance is also popular in Na Hoi, Lau Thi Ngai, and Nam Khanh communes. 

In the future, Tay xoe dancing is expected to become a strong suit of the local tourism industry.

Also at the ceremony, the Ta Chai commune received a certificate recognising it as a new-style rural area in 2014.


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