New members are trained in straw dragon dancing
Songjiang’s straw dragon dance team has recruited new members to practice the ancient folk dance, an example of China’s intangible cultural heritage which originated in Yexie Town.
Newcomers can receive lectures and training by experts twice a month. It is a good opportunity to approach and get known this Chinese tradition.
“We welcome anyone who has a strong interest in the dance, but the training is intense, and all things involve a voluntary spirit,” said Gao Jianying, official with the town’s cultural and sports center.
In 2008, the dance was listed among China’s national intangible cultural heritage.
It was first created by villagers to express their gratitude to the Dragon God that brought peaceful weather to the area.
The dance ceremony of Yexie can be divided into two parts — offering sacrifices to gods and performing the rainmaking dragon dance. During the dance, people wave the dragon to “pray,” “cross among clouds,” “urge rain,” “receive rain,” “watch rain fall,” “twist the body of the dragon,” and “see off the dragon back to its palace.”
The ceremony has existed for nearly 1,000 years, mainly for its power to create a united and harmonious spirit.