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Gaoqiao in Northern China (2)

(CNTV)

09:20, November 16, 2011

In Beijing and Tianjin, performers show their high skills by jumping on one foot or going through obstacles. Some performers can even jump down from four highly-piled tables on one foot.

In Northeast China, Gaoqiao in southern Liaoning Province is the most famous. It has complete procedures and a standard form. At first, performers must "Daxiang", that is, one stands on the shoulder of another and do a yangko dance. Then they run to change queue formations. At last, they perform in groups including pair dancing, "catching butterflies", "fishing" and small local operas, etc.

Ethnic groups, when performing Gaoqiao, usually wear clothes of their own nationality. The Bouyei ethnic group has both double stilts and single one; the latter one, due to its simplicity, is especially loved by children. In "Gaoqiao Shuama" of the Bai ethnic group, performers are dressed like a horse. The "Two-Person Gaoqiao" of the Uygur ethnic group blends their local dance in it, which is new and fresh.

Scholars believe the Gaoqiao originates from the totem worship of primitive clans and the fishermen's lives along the coast. Historians have proved that the Danzhu clan in the times of Yao and Shun emperors, who took the crane as their totem, walked on stilts in their sacrificing and imitated dances of the crane. Archaeologists say some oracle-bone scriptures had images of dancing on stilts.

In the ancient geography book Shanhaijing (The Book of Mountains and Seas), there is an account of Long-Leg Kingdom. According to ancestors, the Long-Leg Kingdom was related to "walking on stilts". From the text, readers can imagine a man walking on stilts, holding a long fishing tool to catch fish in the shallow water Jingzu fishermen along the coast of Fangcheng, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, still keep the custom of fishing this way.

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