Bravo! Xinjiang Folk Dance

Throughout China, Xinjiang has long been known as 'the land of song and dance'. The local ethnic groups including Uygur, Kazakh, Mongol and Tatar are all famously skilled singers and dancers. Xinjiang song and dance reflects unique flavors of ethnic minorities living in northwest China.

Among all the ethnic minorities, the Uygurs and the Kazaks are especially known for their skills in singing and dancing. On festive days and at gatherings of friends and relatives, the Uygurs love to sing and dance. Their lively dances demonstrate diligence, bravery, openness and optimism. The women dance with elegance while the men give a bold and unrestrained performance.

Uygur folk dances are distinguished by head and wrist movements. Their clever coordination is enhanced by the typical posture of tilted heads, thrust chests and erect waists. A slight shivering movement is characteristic of the Uygur folk dances. The rhythmic and continuous shivering of the knees and the momentary shiver when a movement is changed lend grace and continuity.

The fast turns of the Uygur folk dances emphasize the speed and are followed by an abrupt stop, like a soaring eagle that alights suddenly. The various dances all have their own turns. A turning contest brings dances to their climax. There are special tempi for various Uygur folk dances, but syncopation and dotted rhythms are prominent features in many. The most famous folk dances, to name a few, include "Bowls-on-Head Dance", "Drum Dance", "Iron Ring Dance", "Puta Dance" and "Sainaim Dance". 

Another ethnic group that deserves mention is Kazak. A Kazak proverb reads that "singing and the horse are the two wings of the Kazak people. Sonorous and melodious, Kazak folk songs convey the strong atmosphere of the grasslands using the accompaniment of a Dongbula, a string instrument unique to the ethnic group, and used widely throughout the many other groups in Xinjiang. Their dance style is upbeat, bold and straightforward, noticeably in the movement of the shoulders.


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