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A show of fighting spirit

Updated: 2024-03-16 10:22 ( China Daily )
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A Yingge dancer draws a big crowd. [Photo by YU GUO/CHINA DAILY]

"I have to say, it was well worth the wait. It has been fantastic."

Because the gestures, moves and steps of the dance are designed to evoke the fighting spirit of heroes, it is seen as a symbol of good prevailing over evil and of bringing peace, making it a popular dance at traditional Chinese festivals, says Chen Laifa, a nationally recognized inheritor of Puning Yingge dance, who is also the leader and trainer of Nanshan Yingge dance team.

"We would like to convey this spirit to the British people, and at the same time, promote our own culture," he says.

The 68-year-old is a ninth-generation inheritor of the dance, who has been dedicated to performing and promoting it ever since he joined the team aged 18.

On Feb 11, the warrior dance amazed London again as it was performed at a Chinese New Year parade and a grand celebration in Trafalgar Square at the invitation of the London Chinatown Chinese Association. The New Year celebration in the prestigious square in the UK capital is said to be the largest such event outside Asia, with more than 700,000 people in attendance.

Maintaining such a powerful cultural heritage requires efforts from every generation and, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Nanshan Yingge team formed an inheritance custom in which the craft would be passed on from fathers to sons, and from masters to apprentices, according to the local government of Puning.

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