Dancing with bamboo poles Hainan style
The bamboo pole dance is a traditional sport which Li people love. Whenever they greet important holidays or new grains are taken to the threshing ground, people would do the bamboo pole dance, which often goes through all night long.
At first, the bamboo pole dance, called "Ka Ge" in the Li dialect, was played by the men as the women hold the bamboo poles. Nowadays, the men and women can jump together, and there are more women players in the performance, because the girls’ gait is light and nimble, and their skirts make them look more graceful. When doing the bamboo pole dance, firstly place two bamboo poles parallel to each other on the ground. On the two bamboo poles, place another eight four-meter-long thin bamboo poles horizontally. Eight persons are divided into two groups to hold the eight bamboo poles on either side, each person grasping two thin bamboo poles in their both hands. Observing the rhythm of the accompanying music, people hit the two bamboo poles in their hands. The dancers jump between the eight bamboo poles, making all kinds of movements. Meanwhile, the bamboo poles holders may squat, sit, kneel or stand, enabling the bamboo poles to change their height. Whoever responds slowly will have his or her ankles, legs, or waists gripped. When dancers get through all the bamboo poles, they will receive the cheers from pole holders and audience.
Bamboo pole dance is popular at the annual conference of Bo’ao Forum for Asia. It is much fun for delegates to the conference to dance with Li people.
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