A yangge team arrives at the Date Garden

Zaoyuan laile yangge dui
A yangge team arrives at the Date Garden
1975, July
Renmin meishu chubanshe (人民美术出版社)
53x77 cm.
BG E13/129

"The yangge (literally 'rice-sprout song') is a popular traditional folk dance performed in the open air in rural north China. It is a performance that combines spirited dance, garish costumes and loud music to form a colorful blend of rhythmic movements. The dance was closely associated with New Year’s rituals and celebrations, intended to dispel evil and ensure a bumper harvest in the coming season. The dance troupe is led by a leader known as santou (Umbrella Head), who holds an umbrella to direct the movement, and consists of a few dozen to more than 100 dancers, with men playing women’s roles. They are accompanied by drums, gongs, cymbals and suona (a shawm-like instrument), and as well as dancing incorporate farcical acts played by clowns and erotic moves."
Source: Chang-tai Hung, "The Dance of Revolution: Yangge in Beijing in the Early 1950s", The China Quarterly (2005), 81-99

The Date Garden, also known as Yan Garden, located to the northwest of Yan'an, was the former manor of the Shanbei warlord Gao Shuangcheng. Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Peng Dehuai, Ren Bishi and other top leaders of CCP, moved here from 1943.

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