Efforts to preserve and develop “Xoe Thai” unique dance hinh anh 1Xoe Thai dance is performed at the first Thai Ethnic Minority Culture Festival (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
 The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism was assigned by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to sign relevant dossiers for submission to UNESCO, asking it to put “Xoe Thai” dance in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The move is expected to help preserve and promote the artistic values of the traditional unique dance of the Thai ethnic minority group in the northwestern region.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ta Quang Dong said when referring to the Thai ethnic minority group anyone thinks about the “Xoe Thai” dance, and vice versa.

Xoe Thai art is a unique type of traditional dance that is associated with and plays a significant role in the Thai communities in the northwest of Vietnam, especially in the provinces of Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La and Yen Bai.

It depicts the daily lives of Thai ethnic people in Vietnam and shows their wish for a peaceful and prosperous life.

Comprising about 30 different dances in total, xoe Thai is usually performed during community cultural festivals, funerals and cultural exchanges.

The dance has been developed, protected and handed down through generations intact over hundreds of years in many different forms including xoe quat (xoe dance with a fan), xoe khan (xoe dance with a scarf), xoe non (xoe dance with a conical hat) and many others with contents reflecting community activities and expressing the Thai people’s emotion and ancestral spirits.

With gentle and alluring rhythms, dancers usually form a circle around a festive flame and move to the sound of melodic traditional music.

The UNESCO title is expected to elevate the position of the dance to national and international levels, thus promoting Vietnamese traditional arts and cultural diversity.

Earlier, authorities in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien said they will implement a plan to promote the recognition of “Xoe Thai” dance as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Efforts to preserve and develop “Xoe Thai” unique dance hinh anh 2The performance of Xoe Thai dance with the participation of 5,000 artists and people (Source: VNA)

The provincial People’s Committee recently sent a document to the Government, the National Commission for UNESCO Vietnam, the National Cultural Heritage Council and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) to show their determination to follow an assignment by the MCST on seeking the title of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for xoe dance of the province’s Thai ethnic people.

In the document, the authorities stated that after consulting cultural experts about the artistic value of xoe Thai dance, the provincial People’s Committee pledged to embark on the construction of a national profile for the dance.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also affirmed that competent agencies have been compiling dossiers for Xoe Thai dance and Cham pottery making art to seek UNESCO’s recognition.

Cham people in the south central provinces of Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan, particularly those residing in the Ninh Thuan’s Bau Truc pottery village, have long been renowned for their art of pottery.

One of the most outstanding features of the traditional Cham pottery is the technique of shaping their wares by hand rather than by a wheel and their use of simple tools or shells to decorate the products. The pottery is dried under the sun for four to six hours before being fired outdoor over straw or wood.

The skills of the Cham have created a variety of products used for daily activities and spiritual worship. Some of the products include cylindrical jars which store water or rice, decorative lamps, reliefs, and statuettes of apsara or gods.

The Bau Truc pottery village is one of the oldest of its kind in Southeast Asia. About 85 percent of the village’s 400 households make pottery. However, because of industrialisation, the local craft is fading, with a fewer number of workers recorded.

In 2019, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism sought the titles of special national relic site for seven relic sites, and national treasure for 24 objects and groups of objects.

It was noteworthy that “Then” practice of Tay, Nung and Thai ethic groups was named in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in late 2019.

Also in the year, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism decided to grant the national status to 37 relic sites, and 30 intangible cultural heritage. Many relic sites have been upgraded and turned into tourism destinations.

Vietnam has so far had 13 UNESCO-recognised intangible cultural heritage, and joint efforts have been made by competent agencies and people of Vietnam to preserve such heritage./.