The peacock was a totem worshipped by the Dai ethnic group on the southwest border of China. Dai people are good at dancing and singing.
The peacock is a precious bird in the sub-tropical zone. It is beautiful and tame. In the mind of the Dai ethnic group, it stands for auspiciousness and beauty. The excellentPeacock Dancereflects their respect for peace, honesty, water and beauty. The Dai people believe in Hinayana. In the scripture, the Peacock Rajas (Bright King) is a Bodhisattva flying on a peacock, with lotus and peacock tail in hand. Therefore, the Dai people love peacocks, tame peacocks and dance thePeacock Dance.
Nearly all the Dais, especially those in Ruili County and Genma County, can dance Peacock Dance. They produce various dance steps. Their dances have strict rules and requirements, fixed footwork and even fixed accompaniment.
Peacock Dance(a female group dance) was first put on stage in 1956. According to folk custom, the "peacock dance" used to be performed by males. They had to shoulder heavy stage props such as wings and, therefore, their actions were restrained. Breaking through the boundaries of tradition, the creators tried to display peacock's beauty by giving the part to women. They got rid of the heavy wings and they wore long broad skirts decorated with peacock feathers. When the dance debuted at the national dance festival in 1956, it found great favor with audiences for its uniqueness and elegance. The next year, it won a gold award in the World Youth Festival.
In the dance, a "peacock", with its tail feathers spreading, rushes down from a high hill. Its wings changed into the "peacock girls", who dance around the "King of Birds" according to the beat of foot drums and gongs. With this graceful rhythm, they drink, bathe and fly.