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TUNG TUNG DA DA - THE DANCE FOR HEAVEN

Since the beginning of time, The Co Tu people in the west of Quang Nam have preserved cultural treasures which are extremely rich and unique. In particular, the "Tung Tung Da Da" dance (“The dance for heaven”) is a cultural symbol that boldly reflects the life and spirit of the Co Tu people in the Vietnamese ethnic community.

Tung Tung Da Da is a work of art that is meticulously refined; it is both ancient and sacred, but also very modern and lively. Together with other traditional folk art genres such as ba – bóoch (Co Tu folk songs), bh – nóoch (Ly singing), pr – ma (Ly talking), folk songs and folk dances that should be preserved and developed in the community of the Co Tu people in particular as well as in the intangible cultural treasure of the Vietnamese ethnic community in general. This spiritual product has high historical and cultural value and is the pride of the Co Tu people. Not a single Co Tu in Quang Nam, Da Nang or Thua Thien Hue is unfamiliar with this dance, because it belongs to the community, appears in community activities and major festivals of the Co Tu people such as: Buffalo-stabbing festival, new rice festival, new village or Guol building festival...contribute to building a bold Vietnamese culture to be deeply imbued ethnic identities in the new era. The Co Tu people appreciate and are always aware of preserving and promoting this art form.

The Elder A Lang Doi, 58 years old, is a leader who leads the gong dance troupe in festivals said: "Since 20, I have followed my father, grandfather and a lot of arthritis in the village beat gongs, sing and dance the Tang Tung Da Da. With the desire to preserve and preserve the values of Co Tu culture, I bring my soul into the Tung Tung - Da da. Everytime I hear the rhythm, it was also the time when I felt the spread of traditional cultural values of the Co Tu people''.

In Co Tu language, "Tung tung" means rise higher, stronger and more stable. This is also the desire to conquer the universe and the desire for people to have a better life. The Tung Tung Dance is for strong male adults, showing a bustling, powerful and mighty dance. "Da Da" means straight in line, the aspirational rhythm of the spiritual meaning is to wait for the grace of heaven and earth.

Nowadays, Tung Tung Da Da is preserved since the dance is becoming a typical cultural product of the mountainous people for tourism, contributing to improving livelihoods for the Co Tu ethnic people, and developing the highland Quang Nam's economy.

Every night, at Dong Giang Heaven Gate Ecotourism Area, each melody harmonizes with the footsteps of boys and girls becoming the soul of the big jungle. Mr A Lang Chuoc, a local Co Tu who performs at Cong Troi Dong Giang said: "We were born and raise with the jungle, no matter how hard life is, when the festival comes, when the gong and the drums sing, it's the time our footsteps follow with our heart harmonize. I am very happy and proud to be able to perform the traditional dance in such a big tourist area".

Since July 2022, at Dong Giang Heaven Gate Ecotourism Area, this dance has officially become an annual activity for tourists, contributing to preserving and promoting the beauty of Co Tu people's culture. Ms Le Thi Minh Hoa, a tourist from Nghe An showed her interest when experiencing the dance.

"At the square area, when you hear the drum and the gong, when you see Co Tu man with the loincloth, wearing a brocade woven robe, barefoot with shield on his right hand and spears on the other, howling while walking, imitating the echoes of wild nature that show bravery and liberal strength. After that, women in colorful brocade dresses, patterns, and beaded necklaces will join the group. Specially, they always look straight when they dance, a smile on his face, barefoot on tiptoe rotate counterclockwise" - said Ms Hoa.

"The general direction of the dance ring is to move from left to right, each person spins a circle around himself in a counter-clockwise direction, gently swaying legs with the meaning of praying for a warm and happy life" - Mr Bh'riu - Cultural researcher explained.

Tourists who come to visit and stay at Dong Giang Heaven's Gate will have a chance to wear a brocade costume and participate in the Tung Tung Da Da. 

Tung Tung Da Da is a dance as flexible as a reed in the wind, as smooth as a flowing stream. The harmony of this dance between man and woman created a vivid whole in the middle of the mountain. The circle of young men and women moves rhythmically and vividly, harmonizing with the sound of gongs and other traditional musical instruments that melt into the universe like the prayers of the Co Tu people to the gods and ancestors.

Tung Tung Da Da is the masterpiece, the soul and the traditional cultural symbol of Co Tu people. The Co Tu people believe that the earth and river gods give them food and Giang which is the heaven gives them belief and strength to overcome as well as live strong with the sun and the majestic jungle of Truong Son, this is the reason why Tung Tung Da da lives forever in Co Tu people's community culture.