ClockThursday, 13/06/2024 08:15

Bringing the Festival to patients

TTH.VN - For hundreds of patients being treated at Hue Central Hospital, the afternoon of June 10 was a more bustling summer afternoon than usual as they enjoyed a unique cultural feature of the land of cherry blossoms from the Eisa Urakaji Drum Dance Art Troupe, which was participating in Hue Festival 2024.

Artistic quintessence on the streetsSolemn Lantern Festival on the Huong RiverLighting up the festival season

 The performances created the excitement and youthfulness

Being excited from early on, Ho Bao T., a patient, who was being treated at the Rehabilitation Department, asked his relative to push his wheelchair 30 minutes ahead to the program to wait for the art troupe. Mr. T. said that he had been in the hospital for seven months, so he really wanted to watch art and music shows so as to change the atmosphere. “I have been following Hue Festival 2024 via social networks for the past few days, but I never expected to watch the live performances today. It was so great!,” he shared.

Sharing Mr. T.'s excitement, many other patients also came to the venue at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Center of Hue Central Hospital to watch the performances. As soon as the first performance was underway, a forest of phones held up to record and live stream. A geriatric patient, who was sitting next to me, focused on recording and explained that he wanted to save the best performances in his phone. “Some patients wanted to come here and watch the performances of this Japanese art troupe, but they felt unwell to make it. I am recording the videos to share and watch with them to cheer up,” said the patient.

The Eisa Urakaji Drum Dance Art Troupe was founded by Okinawa International University in 2002, with the mission of creating and breathing life into new performances that combine drums and lion dances, while still preserving the traditional Okinawan performance style and artistic characteristics.

Eisa is a time-honored traditional dance that traces its roots back to a folk song originating centuries ago. It is practiced and promoted throughout Okinawa, a Japan's southernmost prefecture. Through Eisa, Japanese people express their reverence for their ancestors during lively summer festivals. The dancers, with their dynamic and passionate movements, blend with the sound of the Taiko drum, creating a powerful and youthful energy, just like the name of “Urakaji” (a refreshing and wonderful breeze).

 Lion dance - a symbol of health and good luck, creating the excitement for many patients

Bringing the performances that have been performed on international stages, including drumming, lion dances, and folk dances, etc., from Japan, the artists arrived at Hue Central Hospital very early to prepare. The powerful, refreshing, and youthful sound of the drums mixed with the clear and vibrant whistles echoed in the sound of cheerful Okinawan songs, making everyone wave their hands along. In particular, the appearance of Shishi, the lion, a symbol of luck and health in Japanese culture, made many children excited to touch, hoping to be healthy and get well soon.

This was the art troupe's last performance in Hue before heading to the airport for their return flight. Therefore, all of the artists were putting in their utmost effort to convey the beauty of their culture through each performance. Mr. Oshiro Yuga, the head of the Eisa Urakaji Drum Dance Art Troupe, shared: “This is our first time participating in Hue Festival, and we have a special volunteer activity. The troupe has never performed for patients before. We hope that everyone will be healthy, happy, and relaxed while watching the program.”

Kinjo Hideki, an artist, shared: “I saw the smiling eyes of the audience, which are the happiness of the artists performing on stage. Over the past few days, we have been immersed in the joyful festival atmosphere, and enjoyed delicious food that is quite similar to the cuisine of our hometown Okinawa. We hope to participate in the following festival editions, and contribute our utmost to art.”

Speaking at the performance, Ms. Do Thi My Chau, President of the Vietnam - Japan Friendship Association in Thua Thien Hue Province, expressed her hope that the patients would experience the cultural beauty of Eisa drum dance and Japanese lion dance, with their profound philosophical spirit. The program would be a spiritual nourishment to help patients reduce anxiety and relieve stress so that they can feel secure in treatment.

Even though the program had ended, Duong T.H., a pediatric patient, from Quang Nam, who was being treated in the Department of Pediatric Oncology - Hematology - Bone Marrow Transplant, still lingered and waited for the interaction session with the artists. H. shared: “I like all of the performances. I regret not being able to touch the lion's head to see if I am lucky.” H.'s mother, seeing her daughter immersed in the singing and dancing, also felt happy and said: “I never thought that a famous art troupe from Japan would perform for the patients. It is probably thanks to Hue Festival. It is really lucky to be able to watch the festival in the hospital!”

According to the leader of Hue Central Hospital, due to their health reasons, patients does not have the opportunity to go outdoors or crowded places, and therefore they would have a strong desire to experience culture. The program is like a meaningful spiritual medicine for patients and their families, spreading love and helping patients to “heal” their souls; and also provide opportunities for doctors and nurses to enjoy the cultural beauty of different countries.

In previous editions of Hue Festival, a number of art troupes went to the hospital to perform selected performances for special audiences. In 2012, Mary McBride, a singer; and her country band; Le Cat Trong Ly, a singer; the Co La band; and the Raduga art troupe from Russia; and in 2014, The Amigos band from the United States brought the special musical feasts to cheer up the sick. Their music has contributed to healing, soothing the pain and encouraging patients to be more optimistic in their fight against disease.

In that year, Le Cat Trong Ly sent a message to the audience: “Everything will be okay. Hope the wounds would be healed quickly!” Then, now, a similar message of sharing and encouraging was being brought to the hospital by Eisa Urakaji drum dance artists. Art helps people forget their worries, arouse an optimistic spirit, and instill faith in life. Looking further, it is also the humanity and the spread of Hue Festival atmosphere to the community.

Story and photos: LINH GIANG


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