05/11/2016 13:54 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Sharing the Lion-Unicorn-Dragon Dance with the World

For the past 30 years, Luong Tan Hang has devoted his life to preserving and promoting the lion-unicorn-dragon dance to international friends. His troupe called Hang Anh Duong has 4,000 members.  Some of his excellent students successfully established lion-unicorn-dragon dancing troupes in foreign countries like France, Norway, the US and Germany, contributing to the development of the dance around the world. 
Luong Tan Hang started practicing the basic movements of the dance when he was a ten year-old boy. At the age of 20, he established his own troupe, called Hang Anh Duong, and then developed it into a professional one. In 2005, his troupe was invited to perform in Beijing in an exchange program. The style of the dance together with eye-catching movements performed by his troupe left a long-lasting impression on the audience in China.

In 2010, the troupe had a chance to attend the Japanese traditional unicorn dance festival where Hang and his students performed the item of “Tu quy lan, su tu hi cau, lan len mai hoa thung” which won admiration from artists of other troupes.

Folk artisan Luong Tan Hang, head of Hang Anh Duong Lion-Unicorn-Dragon Dance Troupe
in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Nguyen Luan

A piece staged by Luong Tan Hang is performed by members of Hang Anh Duong Troupe. Photo: Nguyen Luan

The “Festival Drum” piece performed by Hang Anh Duong Troupe
at the Lion-Unicorn-Dragon Festival in District 11, 2015. Photo: Nguyen Luan

Artisan Luong Tan Hang and his students during a trip to China. Photo: File

The art of lion-unicorn-dragon dance is very popular in Asian countries. However, each country has an idiosyncratic performance, showing their culture. Therefore, each trip to perform in China and Japan provided Hang an opportunity to learn more about international competing rules with the techniques of other troupes. To show the audience professional performances, Hang established a company so all members of his troupe can concentrate on the art.

To meet the changing tastes of each audience, Hang has spent much time and efforts to create interesting and alluring performances that convey national cultural features. His performances, like tu lan, song tu hy cau, lan len mai hao thung, song su bao hy and lan di ca kheo, always fascinate the audience.

In 2015, his troupe participated in Kun Seng Keng Lion-Unicorn-Dragon Dance Festival held annually in Malaysia by the International Lion-Unicorn-Dragon Dance Association. It was a chance for Hang Anh Duong to compete against strong rivals. In the same year, the troupe joined the international association, marking a milestone in its development.  Since then, the troupe is able to participate in the world arena.

Nguyen Thi Kim Hop, who is responsible for managing the dance in Ho Chi Minh City, said, “Luong Tan Hang has coordinated courses on training troupes and coaches, contributing to the increase in quality of the performances”.

Lion and dragon heads  with beautiful patterns. Photo: Nguyen Luan

“Lan len mai hoa thung”, the most common piece performed by Hang Anh Duong Troupe. Photo: Nguyen Luan

 “Lan di ca kheo” is performed by Hang Anh Duong Troupe at a street festival in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Nguyen Luan 

The “Su tu hi cau” piece by Hang Anh Duong Troupe. Photo: Nguyen Luan

Artisan Luong Tan Hang helps his students at a performance. Photo: Nguyen Luan

 Costumes for members of Hang Anh Duong Troupe. Photo: Nguyen Luan

A young member of Hang Anh Duong Troupe. Photo: Nguyen Luan

With his great contribution to the dance, Luong Tan Hang was awarded the title of folk artisan in 2007 and Emeritus artist in 2015. 
Story: Son Nghia - Photos: Nguyen Luan & Files