Guozhuang Dance Contest Held in Luqu County
    2013-08-21 17:37:58     CRIENGLISH.com       Web Editor: Liu Kun

A Guozhuang dance contest is held in Luqu county of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern China's Gansu province in August 2013. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com]

The Tibetans have always been known for their talent in singing and dancing. Guozhuang dance is a Tibetan folk dance during which people gather in a circle around a bonfire to dance. In summer, when the weather on the plateau is more suitable for outdoor activities, Tibetan people will take part in the Guozhuang dance more often. During her visit to Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, Liu Kun attended a Guozhuang dance contest in a local county called Luqu. Let's hear more from her story.




 


Luqu County lies in the middle of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. A ten-minute bus ride from the center of the county takes you to a vast grassland measuring some 19 square kilometers where local Tibetans set up colored tents and prepare for the Guozhuang dance contest; their annual gala.

The place is bustling with Tibetans singing and dancing on the opening day of the contest. For a moment, you feel like you are standing at the Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing with the huge crowd and all the loud music.

The scene is awash with color; the Tibetan robes, the Buddhist prayer flags and the long plaits of Tibetan girls. This array of multicolor scenery is complimented by the blue sky and the Tibetans' heavily tanned faces.

This is the second time the contest has been held. 22 teams consisting of people from all walks of life and from different Tibetan living areas in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces are attending the contest. With about 60 to 80 people on each team, the event has gathered more than 1800 contestants. On top of this number, thousands more are in attendance just to get a glance of the gala.
32-year-old Wang Tashi is on the team representing Langmu town. He and his teammates have traveled for an hour and a half by bus to come here. He explains the origins of the Guozhuang dance and how it is related to his life.

"In old times, when we took a rest while we were working on the grasslands, someone would say let's stand in a circle and sing and dance, very merrily. And that's how the Guozhuang dance came into being. I am Tibetan and the Guozhuang dance is important to me. Guozhuang dance is just like us Tibetans; it's passionate and open. Guozhuang dance brings a lot of happiness into my life."

The Guozhuang Dance Association of Luqu County is the organizer of the contest. Drolma Jia, head of the Association, explains how the contest was initiated.

"Luqu county has a long history of Guozhuang dance. We participated in some contests in Lanzhou and some other places in the 1990s and managed to win some pretty good prizes. The local government always had the idea of holding a contest in Luqu and last year the idea became reality."

The 22 teams will compete over the course of four days and at least 10 will share a considerable amount of award money. Drolma Jia explains the breakdown of the prizes on offer.

"The first prize is 150 thousand yuan, which will be given to one team. The second prize is 100 thousand and that will be shared by two teams. The third prize is 50 thousand and that will be split between 3 teams. And we will also give another four teams each 10 thousand yuan for their participation".

Like many of his fellow contestants, Wang Tashi says he is excited about the contest.

"I am a bit nervous. But we are well prepared and I am confident that we will win a prize."

Some Tibetans have traveled miles only for a short stay and brief enjoyment at the event. 15-year-old Soinam Drolma journeyed 90 kilometers with her parents and grandparents and her four siblings. She clearly wants to be part of the contest.

"I want to take part in the Guozhuang dance when I grow up. I have an elder sister and she dances Guozhuang. I am learning Guozhuang from her right now."

The organizer Drolma Jia is ambitious about next year's contest, saying they will include contestants from all the seven counties in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and more from Qinghai Province and Sichuan Province.

For China Now, This is Liu Kun in Gansu.

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