Traditional Vietnamese dance includes several different forms. These include: dance as performed in Vietnamese theatre and opera, dances performed at festivals, and royal dances of the imperial court. Dance is thought to have been an integral part of Vietnamese culture since ancient times, as depicted by engravings found on Dong Son drums.
Vietnam is a diverse country with 54 different ethnic groups, with the ethnic Vietnamese (known as Kinh) making up the majority of the population. This article mainly focuses on the traditional dances of the ethnic Vietnamese, although each of the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam have their own rich culture and dance styles.
Dancing in Vietnamese theatre
Much of Vietnamese theatre and Vietnamese music are intertwined with each other, as well as with Vietnamese dance. Popular theatre forms such as Hát tuồng, Hát chèo, and Cải lương all often feature dance, however these dances are performed in a liberal manner without set rules, unlike other more specific dance styles.
Dances performed at festivals and important occasions
The lion dance was imported from China into Vietnamese culture where it developed its own distinct style. It is performed rimarily at traditional festivals such as Tết (Lunar new year) and Tết trung thu (Mid-Autumn Festival), but also during other occasions such as the opening of a new business. The lion dance is highly symbolic, supposedly used to ward off evil spirits. There are an abundance of styles and the lion dances are typically accompanied by martial arts and acrobatics.
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