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Ethnic dance pays tribute to the dead and living

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: 2020-05-08 Print


Young dancers of the Yi ethnic group perform the Bell Dance. [Photo by Kuang Huabin/for chinadaily.com.cn]

The Bell Dance, commonly known as "jumping feet", is a farewell to the deceased. The traditional folk dance was performed by Yi ethnic people during ceremonies of sacrifice, but nowadays it brings out more joyful feelings.

The Bell Dance is popular in traditional Yi areas of Guizhou province — Zhongshan district, Liuzhi Special district in Liupanshui city and the counties of Weining and Hezhang in Bijie.

The distinctive feature of the dance is its combination with singing. Dancers once moved to drum beats alone, with bronze bells in their hands and asuona (folk trumpet) as accompaniment.

Yi people dance and sing songs of sacrifice to commemorate the dead and comfort the living at funerals.

Life does not end abruptly at death, Yi ethnic people believe, and the Bell Dance is a prayer to the soul.

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