Stories behind the dances add spice to cultural competition

By Sun Ye in Guiyang ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-12-04 11:17:15

Stories behind the dances add spice to cultural competition

Dancers of the Miao ethnic group from Dayu village, Guizhou province, perform Stomp Down the Moon during the Lotus Award dance competition. Provided to China Daily

Yes, they still warp their bodies to unbelievable shapes, gyrate for a full minute without losing balance, lift up their partners and spin them overhead. But when it comes to folk-dance competitions, there is something else to watch for.

There are folklores, legends and traditions of various ethnicities that lie beyond the dances.

Stories behind the dances add spice to cultural competition

Lotus dance awards ceremony highlights creativity 

Stories behind the dances add spice to cultural competition

The 9th China Lotus Award Ethnic and Folk Dance Contest 

For the entries of the prestigious Lotus Award, the country's highest honor in folk dancing, it's especially true.

Yang Zaiqing, a Miao ethnic native from Dayu village, Guizhou province, has brought a unique ritual dance, Stomp Down the Moon to the Lotus Award stage in Guiyang, Guizhou province, in mid-November.

Neat rows of primary and middle school students from his tribe of Bailing, Miao ethnic group, vigorously thump the floor. It's similar to a heavy tap dance, except they raise their legs high and land full on the sole with very loud "clicks" of the shoes.

"It's so refreshing and full of life," comments Zhao Linping, veteran dancer and researcher of ethnic dances at Inner Mongolian University.

Indeed, the dance, which is an everyday ritual for the group, is designed to revive the moon.

"For us, the moon is the supreme being and we worship her," Yang, who also played a jumpy tune on the lusheng, a Chinese musical instrument with multiple bamboo pipes.

"This dates back to hundreds of years ago when we fled and migrated from Jiangxi province and had to live in the wild," Yang, the Chinese teacher at the Sandu Dayu school says. "The moon guided us and fed us. The name of our clan, Gailai, means 'live again'. And we still do the stomping dance in front of rice paddies and wish for harvests today."

"Everybody, men and women, young and old, celebrates the moon."

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