Qiang Ethnic Dance
Ancient Chinese scriptures record that the legendary ruler Yu the Great came from the Qiang tribe. That was over 4,000 years ago, implying that the Qiang ethnic group may be nearly as old as Chinese civilization itself.
During the Han dynasty, the Qiang (pronounced chyang) population increased, and many of the originally mountainous Qiang migrated to lower plateaus of the Yellow River. And yet, in spite of intermingling with the majority Han people for thousands of years, even to this day Qiang people in Sichuan province have preserved some of their ancient customs and rites.
The Qiang have three types of traditional dance: joyous, religious, and ceremonial dances.
One of the most common Qiang dances is the Salang. Whenever the Qiang people observe a major holiday, wedding, harvest celebration or even, perhaps surprisingly, a funeral, they dance the Salang. In this type of dance, the men line up in front of the women. Then, holding hands in a long formation, each group draws a semicircle around a bonfire.
Qiang usually dance the Salang without instrumental accompaniment. Rather, while performing many intricate leg and hip movements, their voices provide the music by singing.
Shen Yun’s 2012 Dance of the Qiang People, features a celebration of a bountiful harvest, characterized by free-swinging movements and lively steps to a catchy beat.