Trip Itinerary & Travel Details
The large-scale dance drama "Dynamic Yunnan" has been an outstanding innovation on the Chinese stage in recent years.
Dynamically incorporating traditional beauty and modern flavors with a reintegration of the most original and rustic dance elements of Yunnan, the programme breathes new life into Yunnan culture. Primitive, unsophisticated folk dances and a fresh artistic concept converge in the programme, giving audiences a unique "Yunnan Impression." Sixty-two drums and 120 masks of strong ethnic characteristics are incorporated in the performance. Other props, like a "praying stone" and bull's head are taken from real life. A 70-percent cast of ethnic-minority performers and enigmatic lighting and stage effects also add to the programme's appeal.
Birth of the Earth: There is no sun or moon when the heaven and earth are one and the world is in chaos. In the darkness a lightning bolt from the east lights up part of the stage, and another illuminates the west. Then, everything comes to life.
Scene One: The Sun
The theme of the first scene centers on the drum. Yunnan boasts the most drum tales in China, where the drum is not only perceived as a musical instrument, but also as a totem. It symbolizes the matrix or female. Drums can be made of leather, stone, copper and wood. Different ethnic groups categorize drums as Sun, Manggu, Reba and Dabei drums. The Va Ethnic Group has "male" and "female" wooden drums and a sacrificial ceremony usually precedes the making of a drum.
The Sun drum is the most sacred instrument for the Jino people of Xishuangbanna. According to legend, the drum once saved the lives of Jino ancestors. The Sun drum dance is the most representative dance of the Jino people, and the drum can only be played on important occasions.
The Hani people beat the Manggu drum to speak to god. It is believed that the Manggu Dance can drive away evil and guarantee a good harvest. As its name suggests, the Elephant-foot drum resembles the foot of elephant and it can be found in Dehong, Xishuangbanna in Yunnan. The Elephant-foot Drum Dance of the Dai people is usually performed during celebrations or when meeting guests.
The Devine drum is popular in Luchun County, Yunnan Province . But there is only one woman who can master all 24 playing methods used on a wide range of occasions, including sacrifices, procreation, harvest, marriage and other social ceremonies.
Scene Two: Earth and Moonlight
This part of the programme is generally a solo performed by Yang Liping. Yang thinks that women share some common features with moonlight. Using abstract body language, Yang expresses their parallel sentiments with the help of her imagination.
Yi Ethnic Group Huayao Tribe Song and Dance The girls of the Huayao tribe of the Yi ethnic group learn embroidery and needlework from the age of 11 or 12. It usually takes four to five years for a girl to finish a garment used in marriage ceremonies. All of the performers in this part of the programme wear handmade suits to present their song and dance "Seaweed Aria" -- is one of the most beautiful yet complicated folk songs and dance forms in Yunnan. This portion also contains a number of other dances for young people seeking true love.
Scene Three: Homeland
Ancestors of the Yunnan people are followers of animism - the belief that nature and inanimate objects have souls -- and there are many sacrificial ceremonies to different gods every year. This worship of nature has greatly helped preserve the province's ecology and environment. This part of the programme is therefore dedicated to the devastating environment in which we live.
Scene Four: Fire
Hair Dance Since most of the Va women have very long hair, swaying one's hair has become a common gesture in their daily lives. Gradually, the custom has become a dance form expressing the women's strong inner sentiments and to symbolize fire.
Gourd Pipe Dance This ancient dance prevails among a number of ethnic minorities like the Lahu, Va, Naxi, Yao and Miao. On the 2,000-year-old bronze drum unearthed in Yunnan in 1958 is an image depicting the Gourd Pipe Dance.
Mask Dance The mask dance was originally a sacrificial ceremony used to drive away evil spirits. Ancestors wore masks to ward off demons and disease. The mask dance gradually developed into the Nuo Opera, which is still popular in some parts of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan province .
Bull's Head Dance The bull was a source of worship for the ancient people of Yunnan. Dancers holding bulls' heads first appeared on a fresco in a stone cave in Yunnan. The bull's head usually symbolizes power and fortune.
Scene Five: Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage to the divine mountains symbolizes nature worship among some ethnic minorities. This part of the programme incorporates the essence of the Tibetan dance, the "praying stone," etc, to reveal the hopes and dreams of these people.
Epilogue: Spirit of the Peacock To the Dai people, the peacock is a symbol of love called "sunbird." Yang Liping has created a series of dances about peacocks. In the epilogue of "Dynamic Yunnan" Yang dynamically integrates her solo dance and group dance for the first time. The new sound and lighting effects also add great appeal to the number. (/)