The Re­turn of the Dance of the Silk Road

China Scenic - - Silk Road -

In AD 755, the chaos caused by the An Lushan Re­bel­lion dis­rupted the peace­ful equi­lib­rium of the Tang Dy­nasty. Con­se­quently, the pop­u­lar­ity of West­ern Re­gion-style dance, which was in its golden age, also crum­bled away. But this form of art did not dis­ap­pear com­pletely; it was still en­vi­sion among the odes of the po­ets, and came to life in the de­pic­tions of the grotto fres­coes, al­low­ing it to stay fresh in the mem­o­ries of dancers who tra­versed the Silk Road.

In the birth­place of Kucha dance, to­day’s Kuqa, Xin­jiang, when some­one per­forms the folk dance called “Sanam”, the up­raised hand mo­tions, lin­ger­ing gazes and grace­ful body move­ments are like phys­i­cal em­bod­i­ments of the mag­nif­i­cent poses de­picted in the Thou­sand Bud­dha Cave of Kyzyl Grottoes; and in an­other kind of dance, called “Meshrep”, el­e­ments of Kucha dance such as clap­ping, flick­ing, head shak­ing and eye contact can clearly be rec­og­nized, form­ing a com­mon dance lan­guage be­tween past and present.

Modern dance artists have taken inspiration from the Dun­huang fres­coes to cre­ate “Dun­huang dance”, repli­cat­ing the po­si­tions in the paint­ings into real-life

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