The Return of the Dance of the 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