Countdown: D-4 Dancing with Nón Lá

What is nón lá? Nón Lá, sometimes called rice hat, is a type of hat usually made out of bamboo trees and palm leaves common to the many East and Southeast Asian cultures. Although Nón Lá is not unique to VIetnamese culture, it has, overtime, become a distinct symbol of Vietnam. Nón Lá can be used in many ways such as sun or rain blocks for a Nón Lá can cover quite a bit of one’s head. People also use Nón Lá as baskets.

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(Hat Dance, Culture Show 2015)

According to Vietnamese legend, Nón Lá was worn by a goddess who, in ancient time, saved Vietnamese farmers from “deluge of rain” that was destroying rice crops. In order to thank the goddess, Vietnamese people began building temples for her and also began making Nón Lá. Because of that, Nón Lá is usually associated with farmers.

Nón Lá was often used in dances in ceremonies to celebrate the harvest season and from that, hat dance soon became a Vietnamese traditional dance.

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(Hat Dance, Culture Show 2015)

Van Nguyen, hat dancer, describing her experience with hat dance: “a little more than a year later form one year ago, I joined Cal VSA Culture Show’s 2015 Hat Dance team. A few hours a week for a few months before the show, we gathered in UnderHill Parking Lot and practiced: how to flip the hats onto the next person’s head, where and when to point our toes and spin, which way to get into formation without bumping into everyone else. Who knows how many times we dropped our hats? This year, the Hat Dance team is back, with a new set of dancers, choreographers, coordinators, and costumes! Như Quỳnh appears to be a favorite for us hat dancers, so this year, we’ll be dancing to her version of Mưa Trên Quê Hương, or ‘rain from home.’ Choreographed by Angela and Tram Nguyen, this dance will give you some insight into the world of the main character, shedding light onto the discouraging ‘rain’ of struggles she faces for being who she is. Once the rain ends, a rainbow will come, won’t it? Find out at Culture Show 2016: Bụi Đời: Dust of Life on April 9, 2016 at 2:00 pm, Zellerbach Hall! Buy your tickets TODAY before prices go up on Friday! We look forward to seeing you there~”


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