Hanoi (VNA) – Many southern provinces in Vietnam are making efforts to preserve and promote the values of Romvong, a unique dance of the Khmer people that was recognised as a in 2019.
Romvong, also romanised as Rom Vong or Roam Vong, is the most popular folk dance performed by the Khmer people in a circle for entertainment, releasing stress and happiness. It is a slow round dance continuously moving circularly, incorporating graceful hand movements and simple footwork.
Romvong dance plays an important role in collective activities in daily life. It is associated with traditional festivals of the Khmer people, such as Chol Chnam Thmay, Sen Dolta and Ok Om Bok.
The dance is also linked with typical beliefs, religions and rituals such as the god worshipping, the procession of the gods, the peace-spraying ceremony and the Arăk ceremony.
The Khmer people often perform Romvong dance in community worshipping rituals and cultural exchanges. In addition, they can dance at home, on the temple grounds and in the fields.
Accompanying the dance are typical ethnic musical instruments like sadam drum, gong, and a five-tone instrument.
According to the researcher of southern Khmer culture Son Luong, Romvong dance must follow certain rules: people of younger age and lower status will dance first, then guests and the elderly.
He said the art of Romvong meets the prescribed criteria of intangible cultural heritage in community life. In terms of historical value, this dance has gone deep in the mind of the Khmer people for generations.
Regarding cultural values, Romvong represents the Khmer ethnic group’s aspiration to achieve truth, goodness and beauty.
As it was formed in the working process and agricultural production, Romvong is close to people of all social strata. In addition to the Khmer people , even the Kinh and the Hoa who live with the Khmer also know how to dance Romvong.
With these typical values, the Khmer people’s Romvong dance was recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2019.
To preserve and promote the values of the unique dance, many provinces in southern Vietnam, such as Bac Lieu and Soc Trang have carried out many specific solutions.
Bac Lieu currently has 22 Khmer pagodas and hundreds of cultural institutions in the residential community. Romvong dance boasts great vitality as it is present in those places and even in every corner of the Khmer community.
The province has supported artisans in opening classes to teach Romvong dance in localities, with priority given to Khmer pagodas; provided equipment and props for pagodas to organise the teaching and practice of the dances; established clubs and designed Romvong shows in combination with tours to serve visitors at destinations.
Soc Trang province has proposed policies for artisans who preserve and teach Romvong dance in the community; continued communications drive to raise community awareness of the values of the heritage, thereby increasing the sense of responsibility for protecting the heritage, environment, space, natural landscapes, customs and traditions.
At the same time, the province has surveyed and selected locations to organise the teaching of Romvong dances. Each district, town and city develops two clubs, depending on its real conditions, and organises the teaching of Rom Vong dance in the community. They are also supported in building a model of Romvong dance teaching, which will then be replicated in other localities.
Soc Trang has preserved the heritage through “living conservation” in the community. Accordingly, the community, which is the subject of the heritage, directly preserves the heritage and can create a tourism product to generate revenue from the local traditional cultural heritage. The province has also held several Romvong dancing festivals, contests and performances; and coordinated with agencies and units in organising art exchanges featuring the dance.
The province has promoted the values of Romvong dance heritage in the mass media and developed programmes and plans to coordinate with mass media agencies in work. It has also effectively maintained the heritage promotion on the tourism portal, the heritage column on the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism website, and the provincial portal./.
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