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Oldest peacock dance a guy thing

2013-07-25 11:31:45

(Shanghai Daily)


Artists from Nujiang perform various musical instruments.[Photo/Shanghai Daily]

The original ethnic peacock dancers are handsome men who strut their stuff and unfold their gorgeous fan tails. Zhang Qian writes about China's diversified ethnic music heritage.

A peacock flutters down to a river bank, observes his own reflection in the water, sips a bit of water, then grooms his feathers and spreads his beautiful tail into an iridescent fan of green, gold and blue.

To the beats of a foot drum (xiang jiao gu 象脚鼓), a small cymbals (nao bo 铙钹) and mang (硭), a kind of gong, 65-year-old Yue Xiang from Yunnan province portrays a magnificent peacock with graceful movements.

Though most people associate a peacock dance of any kind with the famous female dancer Yang Liping, the indigenous of the Dai ethnic peacock dance was originally a courtship dance by the more beautiful male peacock, which has a fan, not the more ordinary-looking female peahen, which is more drab and does not have the same spectacular plumage.

This male peacock dance was inscribed on China's first list of National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006.

Dancer Yue, the 65-year-old "Peacock Dance King" in Yunnan, is himself a preserver of the dance legacy. From July 11 to 17, he performed in a show of international indigenous music for the 42nd International Council for Traditional Music hosted by Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

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