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Uygur Ethnic Singing & Dancing


Xinjiang have the good reputation of "Land of Song and Dance" since ancient times. Among all national songs and dances, the Uygur nationality's song and dance is with distinctive features.

There are song and dance ensembles which perform national song and dance specially in Urumqi  the provincial capital of Xinjiang Province, Turphan area where most Uygur nationality live and Kashi  in western border.

Uygur nationality classical music divertimento "12Mukamu" is the most familiar music to Xinjiang people. Dance of "Nazikumu" and "Maixilaipu" (party) are most popular folk dance. "Nazikumu" are popular mainly in Tulufan area, some people in Urumqi also play it, and its characteristic is humorous.

"Maixilaipu" is a traditional entertainment way with long history. All people can join in the performance no matter men or women, old or young. There are no strict limitations on numbers of players and performance time.

"Maixilaipu" can be play everywhere at anytime in festival day and at wedding celebration, singing, and dancing together, the atmosphere is very warm. Sometimes, when they are full of zest, the activity will be continuing until next day. "Maixilaipu" is the most popular entertainment activity for Uygur nationality.

We would like to mention the dance of "Shawuerdeng"; it is popular in the Monggol nationality in Xinjiang and is a traditional dance with Monggol nationality features.

"Shawuer" is Monggol language and means action of horse head leaping up and down when horse is running "Deng" is music sound from "Tuobuxiuer" plucking. The dance of "Shawuer" is a kind of dance art; the dancers change their actions according to different music plucked by "Tuobuxiuer" instrument.

Another dance called "Bi" is performance by the Monggol nationality in the northern part of Xinjiang at festival party. If tourists travel in Aletai of Xinjiang northern city, they often see this kind of dance. Players twist arms, shoulders, and waist from slowly to quickly, from soft to warmly. One people or many people can play this kind of dance.

You can see the occasions of drinking wine with big bowls, eating large cubes of meat, singing and dancing warmly everywhere in Xinjiang. Xinjiang song and dance is the main celebration program at minority nationality wedding and birthday party, celebration for good harvest of grape and fruits. Sometimes, they act in hotel, sometimes on open ground of one's courtyard.

The minority nationality are very hospitable and warm-hearted, so they always play song and dance together, you seldom see only a few people play. When you are enjoying their song and dance, if a dancer invite you, please do not refuse. Just follow her, twist waist and wave hands, you will have tons of fun.

Dongbula is a kind of plucked string instrument, which is used Xinjiang song and dance, and often used as solo instrument. Sometimes it is play with Rewapu and small drum together for song and dance accompaniment.

Dutaer is a plucked music instrument with gentle sound and often played as solo instrument. Sometimes play with small drum and bamboo flute. As its sound is weak, it is use in family banquet most of time and seldom appears in grand occasion.

Rewapu is a kind of plucked string instrument, which is love by Uygur, Tajike, and Wuzibieke nationality. It has four types and is comparatively popular. Besides this, there are Aijieke, Sataer, and so on.

If you come to Xinjiang, you will be one of the members in song and dance event.


Living Area: Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, south of Mt. Tianshan , Hubei province

Population: over 7.2 million

Language: Uygurs have their own language and alphabet.

Dialect: Zhongxin, Hetian, Buluo

History: in the 3 rd century, Uygurs were originally living in the Baikal Lake area. In 744, Uygur (Huihe) and Tang maintained an intimate relationship of subordination. During the long history, Uygurs melted the culture of Xinjiang , Mongolia , Tibetan and Han into their own.

Religion: Uygurs believe in Islam since the 10 th century. Before that time, Uygurs used to believe in different religions, including Shamanism, Manichaeism, Nestorianism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism.

Ethnic Costume: Uygur dress features looseness and sharp color contrast. Men often wear an unbuttoned coat and a square belt tied around their waist. Women wear colored dresses with embroidered skull caps.

Uygur DanceDiet: Uygurs favor cooked wheat food, including Nang, Lamian (pulled noodles), Zhuafan and steamed stuffed buns. Zhuafan is rice steamed with mutton, sheep oil, carrots, dried grapes and onions. They also like eating melons and fruits, tea and milk.

Sing and Dance: Uygurs love singing and dancing, especially on the festival occasion and the gatherings. They are able to move their head and neck in a special way by coordinating their shoulder and neck in separate direction.

Festival: Fast-breaking Festival is the most important one for Uygurs. They are not allowed to eat and drink from sunset to sun rise for totally one month. At the end of the fast, all Moslems bathe and hold celebration activities in the mosque.