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Yi people's 'oriental tap dance'

By Yang Fan ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-02-17

Yi people's 'oriental tap dance'
Girls wear Yi traditional costume to perform A Mei Qi Tuo. [Photo/gog.cn]

Known as the “oriental tap dance”, A Mei Qi Tuo is a unique dance of the Yi ethnic group in Guizhou province.

Literally translated as “dance for the married girl” -- the dance sees Yi women dress in traditional embroidered outfits and dance in unison to express their best wishes to a young bride before she ties the knot.

During the performance, the dancers stand in a line and tap their feet to great a pulsing rhythm, accompanying the beat with songs of blessing. The moves of the dance take their origins from the daily lives of the Yi people of Qinglong county in Guizhou’s Qianxinan Bouyi and Miao autonomous prefecture, who come from a tradition of farming and agriculture.

Yi women learn the dance from an early age, ready to perform when their friends and sisters get married. There are 12 different steps in the dance, each with its own auspicious meaning and advice for the bride-to-be, such as to be industrious, thrifty, and to respect the elderly.

A Mei Qi Tuo is by no means easy to learn. Dao Meilan, an expert of traditional folk dance, said, “Professional choreography would never stumble upon such steps and they would be very difficult for any professional dancer to learn.”

Yi people's 'oriental tap dance'
A Mei Qi Tuo is performed on stage by. [Photo/gog.cn]
Edited by Owen Fishwick
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