Hainan Intangible Cultural Heritage: Li Solidarity Dance

By Zeng Chenying / hicn.cn / Updated: 22:25,26-February-2022

In 2007, Li Solidarity Dance—one of the folk performances from the Li ethnic group—was added to the Hainan Provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Its easy-to-understand movements with remarkable ethnic characteristics are widespread in the Qi dialect area of the Wuzhishan mountains. 

The Li people dance the Solidarity Dance when they are getting married, building new houses, celebrating festivals, or just having fun.

Used to play some simple melodies with an assortment of rhythms, the musical instruments which accompany the dance are generally just drums and gongs. As a general rule, a single tune is used as the foundation. Repeated several times, this tune has little melodic fluctuation and a relatively regular rhythm. For the dance, people are divided along gender lines. Starting from a semi-circle, as the accompaniment becomes more intense, they eventually form a circle with the men outside and the women inside. This symbolizes the men going out to earn money and the women staying in to create a home.

As part of the dance, the leaves of the orange tree are used to sprinkle the audience with holy water. For the Li, orange leaves traditionally symbolize good fortune and clear water is considered divine. Sprinkling clear water with orange leaves indicates the wish that the crowd have good fortune and happiness.

Maintaining the vitality of their culture, the Li Solidarity Dance traditionally requires the inheritors to learn from their elders beginning from a young age.



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