Art of song and dance

Source: Global Times [17:11 March 17 2011]

Xingjiang  has long been known as "a land of song and dance." Singing and dancing are integral parts of the local life and have been around for centuries. Influenced by the ancient Silk Road civilizations, and the exchange and integration of the Eastern and Western cultures, the song-and-dance styles have developed their own unique charm and stand out as sparkling jewels among all such art forms across China.

The splendor of Xinjiang song and dance is attributed to all ethnic groups in the region. The vastness of the land, the variety of the population, natural environment, economic conditions and cultural backgrounds, as well as people's working modes, lifestyle, mindset and aesthetic tendencies, have resulted in their immense diversity and richness of these arts.

The occasions of drinking wine with big bowls, eating large portions of meat, singing and dancing warmly are everywhere in Xinjiang. The song and dance is the main celebration form at minority nationality weddings and birthday parties, and at celebrations of good harvests of grapes and other fruits.

Minority people are very hospitable and warm-hearted, so they always sing and dance together. The Uygurs' classical music divertimento "Twelve Muqam" is the most familiar music to Xinjiang people, and the Nazirkom and Maixilaipu dances (party) are the most popular folk dances.

Since the beginning of the 1950s, Xinjiang has produced a large number of talented musicians and dancers. These artists, nurtured by the rich cultural traditions of the region, have gained the appreciation of the entire nation. Many of their masterpieces have become part of the larger repertoire and have brought honor to the country, including such large stage productions as Rainbow of the Tianshan Mountains, Our Wonderful Xinjiang, Happy Songs from Tianshan, Mountain Father and Water Mother, Flower of Dolan, Kashgar and the large dance Daughter of the Desert.

Particularly after the reform and opening-up, artists have drawn upon a great variety of cultural resources worldwide, as well as new inspirations emerging from China's modernization and contemporary life, producing a good many outstanding works that combine local and ethnic appeal with contemporary dynamism.