General introduction to Xinjiang dances

Source: Global Times [16:18 July 20 2009]

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is the largest of China's provinces and autonomous regions and has abundant natural resources. Surrounded and divided by mountains, Xinjiang's north is completely different from its south.

The 59.5 million Uygurs in Xinjiang are known for their skill in singing and dancing. On festive days and at gatherings of friends and relatives, Uygurs love to sing and dance. Their lively dances demonstrate diligence, bravery, openness and optimism.

Uygur folk dances are distinguished by head and wrist movements. Their clever coordination is enhanced by the typical posture of tilted head, thrust chest and erect waist. The dances, Sanam in particular, express the Uygurs' feelings and character.

A slight shivering movement is characteristic of Uygur folk dances. The rhythmic and continuous shivering of the knees and the momentary shiver when a movement is changed lend grace and continuity.

The fast turns of Uygur folk dances emphasize speed and are followed by an abrupt stop, like a soaring eagle that stops suddenly. The various dances all have their own turns. A turning contest brings the dance to its climax. There are special tempi for various Uygur folk dances, but syncopation and dotted rhythms are prominent features in many.

Following are introductions to Sanam, Dolan, Sama, Xadiyana and Nazirkom folk dances, which enjoy wide popularity among the Uygurs.