Yunan has a rich history of dance. One of the more famous dances from here, is more than 1200 years old. The dance of the Nanzhao Kingdom was conceived to pay tribute to the Tang Dynasty. The Nanzhao kingdom was centered on present-day Yunnan province in south west China.
The dance of the Nanzhao Kingdom became an instant sensation in Chang'an, the capital of the Tang Dynasty. The emperor at once ordered the dancers in the imperial courts to learn from the dancers of the faraway kingdom.
The dance is also called the 'Nanzhao's tribute dance to the majestic one' denoting its purpose as a tribute to the emperor of the Tang dynasty.The dance is divided into six segments.
"Each segment has its own theme," Director of Yunnan Dali Culture Research Institute Li Gong said. "In the last segment, they form the Chinese characters which say - 'Nanzhao's tribute dance to the majestic one'."
The performance involves 64 dancers and 196 musicians. The dancers wear exotic clothing. They are also decorated in feathers, to mimic the movements of the exotic birds of Yunnan.
"Many elements of the dance can be seen in the dances of today's ethnic minorities," former troupe leader of Dali Dance Troupe Yu Liangqi said. "For example, the Xi people's dance is inspired by Magpies. Similar inspiration can be found in the dance of the Nanzhao kingdom too."
The dance also absorbed the music from the nomadic tribes of northern China. It also inspired the great poet, Bai Juyi to write poems describing the grand spectacle.
The dance is remembered by historians as a great example of the peaceful confluence between different cultures, as well as a memorable bond between the Tang dynasty and the surrounding kingdoms.