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Guizhou art of bamboo drifting causes stir online

By OWEN FISHWICK | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-19 08:06
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Some members of the Miao ethnic group in Guiyang, Guizhou province, perform bamboo drifting during a festival. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A video posted online caused a stir recently, revealing the little-known Guizhou art of bamboo drifting. In just under a dozen hours after appearing on social media behemoth Facebook, the video had received 170,000 views and 4,600 likes.

The fascinating video, entitled Dancing on Water: The Chinese Art of Bamboo Drifting, was posted by Great Big Story, a video platform created by CNN.

The video shows people in Miao ethnic dress balancing on thin poles of bamboo, bobbing along the Chishui River in Guizhou province. However, not only do these people balance on these precarious poles, they also dance, perform, and play sports.

"When I first saw it, I felt it was so unique," says Kang Xiaobing, in the video. The 74-year-old is the president of the Zunyi Single Bamboo Drifting Association.

"Standing on a piece of bamboo on the ground is already not easy-not to mention doing it on water," Kang says. "So, I went out to try it and fell in love with it."

Bamboo drifting maybe be an oddity to the outside world, but to the Miao people and others in the province, it has been a unique, useful and entertaining part of their culture for more than a thousand years.

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