A traditional dance named "Con di danh bong".
This was thanks to efforts made by local researchers and scholars in collecting and staging the dances in the project “restoring and developing Thang Long – Ha Noi dances”.
It all started with the project proposal to the Hanoi Department of Culture in 2004 by some 60- and 70-year-old artists from the Hanoi Association of Dancers.
The department recognized a great value in the project and approved it. The artists then travelled to locations in and around Hanoi where they believed they could find traces of the city’s ancient dances. They discovered that there had been around 80 dances throughout Hanoi’s history. These can be divided into three groups: royal, religious and folk dances.
Following the field work, in the spring of 2007, Hanoi held performances of its ancient dances at the Thang Long – Hanoi Dance Festival at the Ly Thai To Monument near Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi continued to organize dancing festivals in 2008 and 2009 and helped increase interest in Hanoi’s ancient dances.
Associate Professor, Le Ngoc Canh, the driving force behind the project, said, “We spent a lot of time and effort, but we were able to collect and restore only 28 ancient dances of Hanoi.”
Most of these were folk dances performed during traditional festivals in Hanoi’s villages a long time ago. One of the interesting dances collected is “Thien Long Bat Bo” preserved by the monks from Dong Lim pagoda, Long Bien district. It is performed during Buddhist festivals, opening ceremonies of pagodas and temples, as well as worshipping ceremonies. It expresses the power of solidarity and hope for peace, stability and prosperity.
Another interesting dance is the “Bai bong” dance from Phu Nhieu village (Quang Trung Commune, Phu Xuyen district), which extols the greatness of the country and the beauty of life and love.
In the “Trong bong” dance from Trieu Khúc village, Thanh Tri District, boys humorously wearing girls’ colorful clothes and black headbands make strong and quick movements.
The “Luc Cung” dance from Minh Quang pagoda (Dong Da District) features a display of lamps to pray for the happiness and peace of all people.
Most of Thang Long – Hanoi’s ancient dances were folkloric so it was very difficult to determine exactly when they first appeared.
One local researcher has tried to classify ancient dances of Vietnam according to historical figures. He believes there are different types of dance in Hanoi. For example, after he moved the capital to Thang Long, King Ly Thai To had Phu Dong Temple built for worshipping the national hero Thanh Giong, and then the Phu Dong festival followed and quickly became a national event. The festival includes performances of folk songs, drums and gongs, and dances.
Hanoi also possesses other traditional dances such as the dragon dance, flag dance, Trong Bong dance in Trieu Khuc, lamp dance from Hai Ba Trung temple festival in Dong Nhan, and snake dance from Le Mat village, all believed to have been introduced a long time ago.
Even though only a few of the past dances of Hanoi have been collected and restored, their regular performances have revived a tradition that has helped make Hanoi a cultural center of Vietnam and the world. VCW