Pakistani dancers perform Dawn to Dusk at the Dance Theatre of the Beijing Dance Academy on Friday. Photo: Li Hao/GT
Pakistani dancers perform Dawn to Dusk at the Dance Theatre of the Beijing Dance Academy on Friday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) launched a gala featuring the folk dances of SCO member states at the Beijing Dance Academy on Friday night.

The 80-minute Folk Dance Gala of SCO Member States Arts Festival featured the nine most representative traditional dances of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia and China.

Dancers from the Department of Chinese Classical Dance at the Beijing Dance Academy took the stage first for a performance of the traditional Chinese dance Xianghe Song. The dance’s beginnings can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206BC- AD 220) and involves singing and dancing in step to a drum beat to create the perfect combination of dance, music and poetry.

Next came the Kazakhstan dance Arular, which means “beauties” in Kazakh. The dance conveyed the beauty, elegance and gentleness of Kazakh girls. With subtle and graceful steps, dancers dressed in rose-colored traditional ethnic clothing, headdresses and transparent veils highlighted the uniqueness of the dance with gentle movement of their hands, body and head.

Starting with the sound of bird song, Chinese dance Watercolor depicts the first light of dawn, when the air is permeated with a grassy fragrance and birds begin their day in a bamboo forest. A group of women from China’s Dai ethnic group sing a cheerful song as they amble alongside a creek that runs through the bamboo forest.

Following, the National Dance Troupe of Kyrgyzstan, Semetey, brought Migration of Nomadic People to the stage. Nomadic culture has long been a core part of the history of the Kyrgyz people, as their ancestors moved from place to place in search of fresh water and green pastures throughout Asia. The dance displays nomadic traveling merchants and demonstrates the history and culture of Kyrgyzstan through music and dance.

Kazakhstan dancers perform Arular on Friday. Photo: Li Hao/GT
Kazakhstan dancers perform Arular on Friday. Photo: Li Hao/GT
The following performance had a strong connection to China’s famed Terracotta Army, one of the top 10 wonders of the world.

Dancers dressed as ancient Chinese warriors galloped and advancing bravely across a battlefield accompanied by the sonorous and forceful rhythm of Jiangzhou Big Drum folk music.

One of the most refreshing dances of the night was performed by the National Performing Art Group (NPAG) of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts. Dawn to Dusk depicted the joy of a woman in a Pakistani village as she goes about her day. First preparing food for her family members who are working hard in the fields, she later has breakfast together with her husband, before joining her family in the fields. Featuring an enthusiastic rhythm and vivid performance, dancers made a day in the fields look elegant and pleasant.

By Luo Yunzhou

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