The palm fan dance: Each animal has its own story
Zhao Ying

The palm fan dance is one of Hani people's traditional dances in Yuanjiang County, Yuxi City in southwest China's Yunnan Province. As part of the Hani ethnic group, Ni Weishun has loved Hani culture since he was a child. In the 1980s, he collected and recomposed ancient ethnic melodies, and choreographed the palm fan dance into 36 routines. In the dance, an Hani ancestor mimicks the actions of animals during migration. Each animal has its own story and dance moves.

Throughout years, he has taught the dance to countless people. Before his retirement, Ni was gratified that the palm fan dance was listed as a national intangible culture heritage in 2011. Now, the palm fan dance is not only seen in villages, but also becomes an exercise between classes for kids in schools. He hoped that future generations would remember the greatness of Hani culture.

About the "Go! Yunnan" series:

Yunnan Province in southwest China boasts spectacular natural landscapes, biodiversity and diverse ethnic groups. Among China's 56 recognized ethnic groups, 25 are in Yunnan. This livestream series takes you on tour to six cities or autonomous prefectures in Yunnan to see the little-known food, scenery and folk customs. 

See more about Yuanjiang County:

Go! Yunnan: See how China's Hani people prepare for their New Year - Shiyuenian Festival

Go! Yunnan: Visit the morning market in Yuanjiang County

The palm fan dance: An ancient ritual dance for Hani people

The Hamo Brothers: Recreating ancient Hani melody

Hani people: The mountain sculptors

Terraced fields sculpted by Hani people in SW China

Yuanjiang County: A tropical fruit kingdom

The cradle of wild aloe vera in China

How China's Hani people use plants to dye cloth

(Cover image taken by Zhang Chao.)

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