Noilly Prattle: China – Winter 2016 (Dance)

Friday, August 5, 2016

China – Winter 2016 (Dance)

     The local Naxi ethnic minority people in Shuhe and Li Jiang love to dance. They get together in large and small groups and dance together round and round in large circles. If the dance is in the evening it will be around a bonfire, but the steps and rhythms are the same.


afternoon in a Li Jiang park
       The first group circle dance we saw was in Li Jiang. One afternoon we were attracted by the sound of music and discovered several large group of people dancing in an open space just inside the city gate. They were very friendly and having such a good time that I was tempted to take them up on their invitation to join in, but figuring I would look foolish not knowing the steps I declined.


Hui Feng staff ladies dance in the inn courtyard 
       The second dance was one held in the courtyard of our hotel in Shuhe, the Hui Feng. The staff set up a small bonfire in the courtyard and mostly the older ladies of the staff danced round and round the fire with an occasional guest jumping in and out of the dance. The steps and rhythms of the music and dance were similar to those we had witnessed in Li Jiang, but the light of the bonfire gave it a more mysterious ambiance.


"clubbing" in "Music Square"
       The third dance. We had heard about a bonfire dance being held in the evenings in one of the squares in Shuhe. One evening we decided to go and have a look. When we arrived at the square it was still light enough but the bonfire was crackling away and the circle dancing had begun. The crowd was very large and it was a sort of public clubbing scene adapted to the traditional circle dancing as we had witnessed the previous evening in the hotel courtyard and in Li Jiang. But, unlike the older women who danced in the courtyard, this scene was much younger and it was a lot of fun to watch. We finally threw in the towel and joined in the dance although: 1) we didn't know the steps, 2) we hadn't danced in years, and 3) I wasn't sure if I could dance with a titanium pin in my hip. But, what the hell, you only live once, and we danced round and round for a couple of numbers, probably out of step with the folks who knew the moves but it was great fun anyhow.  


       Shuhe looked very pretty and exotic at night when we returned from our "dancing" to the Hui Feng, which, itself, looked rather calm and serene. And in that mood, I come to the conclusion of my China - Winter 2016 journey. 

a clear spring runs through it - commercial center of Shuhe
with food stalls, shops, restaurants, night clubs, etc.  

gate to the Hui Feng Inn

entrance courtyard (one of three) and lobby of the Hui Feng Inn

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