Some Unique Dances of Cham Ethnic

Cham people believe that Cham traditional dance is the connection between the current world and the supernatural world, between man and god. Through the dances, people express their wishes of good weather, peaceful villages, good health to live and serve the current world and offer sacrifice to Yang God.

Tamia tadik – (Fan dance)

According to the concept of the Cham, peacock is a symbol of joy and luck. Therefore, Biyen dance (peacocks) is always included in the festivities and happy days of the community. This is a unique and typical folk dances of Cham dancing art.

The fan dance of Cham Ethnic

Biyen dance’s properties are fans, so Cham people love the fans very much. Cham women with skillful hands hold the two fans which sometimes looks like the wings, but sometimes like two birds.

Tamia đwa buk – (Dances carrying water jar on the head)

Coming to the villages of Cham people, we can catch the image of Cham women carrying a basket of rice on their head from the field to the village, or carrying “buk” to get water from the river. From these actual activities in daily life, Cham people creatively created the dance with a jar on their head (ndoa buk).

The girls dance while carrying a water jar on their head

The dance with a jar on the head is the ingenious and skillful combination of the Biyen dance (peacock) and everyday working affairs that we always encounter in anywhere in the villages. The combination makes Cham young woman look as graceful and flexible as the flying birds.

Tamia Taniak – (Handkerchief/ towel dance)

Besides the above- mentioned dances, there is also handkerchief dance whose props are handkerchiefs which symbolize lovely and gentle pure heart of Cham girls. While the female dance is graceful and charming, the dance of men shows the strength and indomitability against all the vicissitudes of life.

The dancers hold the handkerchief, use their wrist to wave the handkerchief, sometimes gentle and deliberate, sometimes strong and decisive depending on the rhythm of music. The handkerchiefs look like the petals symbolizing the lovely pure heart of the girls in the land of towers; therefore, the dancing costumes are usually white clothing and towels. When the handkerchiefs are at low position, they are like the shy, graceful and tactful petals. Then suddenly are the towels moved to higher position which creates a funny and happy feeling and praises the Cham girls who have good qualities, as pure as the proud and attractive flowers.

Tamia Jwak Apwei – (Dances of sword, rope, fire)

There has been a saying of Cham people that "men fight, women give birth" which expresses the strength and perseverance of the men to protect the village and the country. Tamia Jwak Apwei is a popular dance for men, and has had for a long time and appeared in Rija Nagar festival. Fire is the element symbolizing the difficulties and dangers of humans, male dancer holds the rod or sword in his hand, and fight to protect their beloved village at the same time, and expresses the determination to overcome the difficulties to win.

The dancer steps on the fire in Tamia Jwak Apwei dance

Although Cham dances only describe the simple daily tasks, they contain many profound philosophical worldviews; therefore, they always give viewers a unique impression, bring people to the legendary lands, sacred but very deep, with intense and optimistic desire for life of the Cham.

Cham dance has become a unique part of cultural heritage of Cham. Time flies, they have been preserved and promoted properly, partly satisfied the demands of creativity and art enjoyment of the Cham people. With artistic passion and the right level of research investment, Cham dances are being developed in the right ways.


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