HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's variety of traditional dances will sink into oblivion if they are not well-preserved, the chairman of the Ha Noi Dancers' Association believes.
To ensure that the country's rich culture of dance will continue to exist for future generations to enjoy, Nguyen Van Bich early this year launched a project that will collect, record and film 40 traditional dances from the northern provinces.
Dozens of cultural researchers, dancers and choreographers from traditional art troupes in the region are taking part.
"We have also discussed the changes needed to develop the country's dance profession," said Bich, adding that training and management activities would play an important role in improving and preserving the profession.
"We want to improve the arts, and address the challenges that dancers face," he said.
Ha Noi has 80 traditional dances, mostly dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
Many of them highlight the beauty of women in work and daily life.
Most of the beautiful old dances were created by artists in villages such as Lo Khe, Trieu Khuc, Phu Nhieu and Le Mat in districts Dong Anh, Thanh Tri, Phu Xuyen and Long Bien.
The dances tell the stories of the country's history, culture, religion and lifestyle in different periods.
Bich said that since 2006 his association had encouraged prestigious dance schools, such as the Viet Nam Dance College and Army Culture Art University, to join the preservation effort.
He believes by keeping old dances alive, these schools can improve their training and management to meet the market's high demands.
"One of our key problems is how to create more opportunities for dancers, particularly young dancers, to perform traditional dances on stage," he added.
Artisan Nguyen Thi Thom of Le Mat Village agreed, saying that without young talent, the art would decline.
Thom and her colleagues have staged performances to help the association's efforts.
"I was very sad when I realised that traditional dances are not popular with local youth. And our artisans have to face so many difficulties to preserve the art," she said.
Thom values the profession because "one can dance anywhere and anytime. And no one and no event can limit the passion for dancing".
Unlike dancers from art troupes, Thom performs dances after work in local festivals and events. She also works as a dance teacher at local cultural houses.
"I want to follow in my mothers' footsteps, teaching young people how to dance their tradition," said the 72-year-old. — VNS