The Xa Pho ethnic group has a population of over 1,000 people in northwest Vietnam, residing in separate villages between high mountains, mainly in the districts of Sa Pa, Van Ban and Bao Thang around Lao Cai City. They live mainly on cultivation, livestock and poultry.

Quet Lang festival of the Xa Pho

Like other ethnic groups, they have their own unique traditional dance without any mixture from other ethnicities. The dance has been handed down from generation to generation through traditional teaching methods (mother to child and grandmother to grandchild). Each generation appreciates receiving the skill, and carefully preserves the unique dance style.
The Xa Pho culture emphasizes a very strong sense of community, and this is also seen in their dances. Different types of dances are performed collectively by groups of five to ten people in straight or curved lines. Dance costumes include sashes in various colours. In the dance movements, the left hand uses a musical instrument, while the right hand holds the sash (blue, red or white) following the beat.

Costumes of the Xa Pho in festival

The musical instrument accompanying the dance is called Ma Nhi, an instrument unique to the Xa Pho, along with a rhythmic instrument using seeds. The women dance and beat the rhythm at the same time. Before the dance, each person performs eight beats, with emphasis on beats 3 and 4 of the form. Men and women have separate dances, seldom dancing together.
For performances, girls often wear the traditional skirt and shirt of indigo fabric which they have woven themselves. They embroider and decorate their clothes elaborately and beautifully.
These dances are vital activities which both promote and demonstrate the community cohesiveness in Sa Pho culture. During festivals, the Xa Pho dances are the most attractive activity, accompanied by lively tradition games. Let's join our Sapa tours to have chance to take part in this interesting dance.