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Diqing inheritor (4) Asang and the Guozhuang dance

Updated:2018-09-09 17:08:21   Yunnan Gateway

"It is said that people here learn to speak and sing at the same time and they can dance as long as they can walk. So, is it ture that you have been dancing Guozhuang since childhood?" We asked.

Asang said:"No, I actually learnt it in my forties."

Asang, 62, together with his folks, was performing the Guozhuang Dance in Tibetan costumes in the studio of culture station on Aug. 28 in Benzilan Township, Deqin County, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Guozhuang, an important dancing art belonging to the national-level intangible cultural heritages, boasts a history of 1,500 years.

Asang is one of the leading dancers in the Benzilan performing team. Although we are strangers to Tibetan songs, we could tell he really got into the show and performed engagingly.

"Why don't you learn it earlier?" We were in curious.

"I didn't have the time and mood to learn in that time when food was scarce. Having been better off later in my forties, more and more people in the village began to practice Guozhuang. I also wanted to give a shot then." Asang laughed.

Noting certain skills in learning of the art, Asang said he had spent four years to master the Guozhuang dancing. He added over 300 villagers from 109 families there could dance with the support of the culture station and they were all getting busier and happier.

“Busy with Guozhuang, Why? And how busy are you?” We were confused.

"Well, protection and preservation of intangible cultural heritages are highly regarded by more people nowadays. The more they know about the art form, the stronger aspirations they have to pass it down.

Guozhuang Dance is also commonly seen in funerals, weddings, festivals, harvest celebration, house moving and guests receiving. Besides, starting form last April, a commodity fair has been held from 15 to 16 each month and the dancing on the event is expected by everyone," Asang said gladly,together with his neighbor Aniu.

Aniu, 56, said that he had been participating in the art form together with Asang for several years. During the fair, villagers set out in the morning to buy pickles, meat and highland barley.

Then, they joined the Guozhuang dancing and people would not be heading home until dark. Merry activities repeat the next day. "People have fun dancing and it is a way to pass it down at the same time." Aniu said delightedly.

Asang added they’ll be busier because the First Guozhuang Dance Festival of Benzilan Township will bee held from Oct. 11 to 12 this year and they are now preparing.

"During the festival, Benzilan Township will be recognized as ‘birthplace of the Guozhuang Dance of Tibetans in China’by the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association," said Bu Cheng, a local offical with the publicity department.

Noting the department had collected 306 songs and 27 kinds of steps in Guozhuang Dance, Bu Cheng said that the DVD of the dance was recorded and a book about the Guozhuang Dance in Benzilan will be published in the coming October.

"Welcome to Benzilan, and we wish you auspiciousness!" Following their singing, Asang and Aniu translated Tibetan words into mandarin for us.

In response, we said the auspiciousness would first come to them and then we’d also share the happiness and blessings. They couldn't agree more and we had a good time that day.

Reporting by Zhang Ruogu, Xiong Yan, Chu Donghua and Li Wenjun; translating by Li Hengqiang 

Keywords:   Diqing Asang Guozhuang