Dance Singing and Circle Dancing of Bulang Ethnic Group
Dance Singing and Circle Dancing
The Blangs are good dancers and singers. In important festivals, they sing and dance to the music of various instruments. On these occasions, martial art and acrobatics are also included in the celebration to create a joyful atmosphere.
From childhood, the Blangs learn to sing various tunes and play all kinds of instrument. Their music tunes has four types, i.e. Shuai, Zai, Suo, and Zhui. Their respective characteristics are: the Shuai type is high-spirited, exited, and expressive; the Zai type is joyous and light-hearted; the Suo type is fit for folk music and often accompanied with small Sanxian (triple-stringed instrument); the Zhui type is fit for the music played in mutual singing that praises national heroes, and a flourishing new life. The Zhui type is often applied to music played on important occasions. The accentor (the leading singer) often makes new lyric lines off the cuff.
The two main forms of dance are festival dance and Buddhism ritual dance. The names of their dance vary from one area to another: it is called “Tiaobai” in Xishuangbanna; “Dage” in Shidain and Zhenkang; “Tiaoge” in Yunxian, Jingdong and Mojiang. The name “Tiaoge” means dancing while singing. Because the Blang men like Wushu (martial art), they also integrate dancing, singing, and martial arts into a new form of art, which shows power and manly spirit. For instance, they have “long knife dance,” “stick dance,” “boxing dance,” etc. The Blangs living in Xishuangbanna also have many forms of dance that come from their life and work. For instance, they have graceful and joyful dances like “elephant foot dance,” “clapping dance,” “monkey dance,” and “tea collecting dance.”
The dance of the Blangs are for everyone, form the children to the old with gray hair. When the flute plays dance music, they start dancing at once. The Circle Dance is the most popular form of dance among the young. The dance is led by a young accomplished male singer and dancer. Following the rhythm of gongs and elephant foot drums, the girls and boys form a circle, dancing gracefully while moving in an anticlockwise direction. They move their knees in an undulating manner, and their hands roll around the shoulder. At the same time, a group of boys jump like tigers in the circle. Sometimes they disperse and sing antiphonally with the girls and sometimes re-form a group to perform their tiger-like leaps. The dance repeats itself many times. And great joy can be full expressed in this form of dance.