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Fervent Uygur Folk Dances


Since Uygur music and dances combine artistic attributes of both the East and the West, they form a unique charm, which can be clearly seen in Uygur folk dances. The Uygur folk dances feature vibrating rhythm, diversified movements and superb skill. The regular and continuous vibration of knees shows the local people's method of walking in the desert. The diversified movements absorb the essence of the musical dances in the Western Regions, and the skills in jumping, spinning and waist twisting are all developed from theHuteng, HuxuanandZhezhidances. TheMaixirepuevolved from the "banquet musical dances" of the Western Regions.

Senemis prevalent throughout Xinjiang. It is a general term for their type of music and dance. People like to put the name of a place in front of it, such as theKuqa Senem,Kashi SenemandHotan Senem. There are big differences in the music and dancing styles. The commonly found movements are "snapping the fingers", "moving necks", "raising eyebrows" and "moving eye-balls", which were depicted asHuwu(dance of the Western Regions) Du You of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Duolangwuis popular in the Markit and Bachu areas on the edge of the Tarim Basin, where the Uygur call themDuolang. The music isDuolang Mukamu(a big divertimento), accompanied by sonorous male singing. Usually the dancers are in pairs, and the number is limited. There are four groups of actions. The first is in six-eight time, slow and rhythmic, with apparent shivering of knees; the second and third groups of actions become quicker, bolder and more powerful, with standard and rigorous movements, such as "pulling the bow and shooting from horse". The fourth group is allegro. Two performers compete with each other in spinning, pushing the dance to a climax. Audiences applaud and shout to cheer them on. Finally, the one with the most superb spinning skill is left. The vibrating movements and the sonorous songs through the whole dance remind people of the hard efforts made by the Uygur people in fighting against draught and in developing new oases.

TheNazierkumuwas a popular dance in Huozhou (Fire Prefecture) of the Western Regions (present-day Turpan area). People danced in pairs, accompanied by string instruments and songs. The dance is divided into two parts. In the first part, dancers imitate actions of "making noodles", "soling a shoe" or "duck walking" in a humorous way. They also imitate actions of their counterpart in an exaggerate way. In the second part, one dancer in a pair demonstrates his or her unique skill in an effort to triumph over the other. Audiences shout encouraging words, adding to the fun. Performers "shake shoulders and get near", or "spin with hands on knees", exhibiting many similarities with the "Black Bear Fighting" dance, but the rhythm is the same asYangko.

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