Young Woman Brings New Vitality to Traditional Bamboo Drifting Through Her Innovations

 August 25, 2021

By incorporating dance moves and Chinese cultural elements into the art of single bamboo drifting, a national intangible cultural heritage, a 24-year-old woman from Zunyi in southwest China's Guizhou Province has brought new vitality to the traditional art form.

Yang Liu is an inheritor of the artform, a kind of intangible cultural heritage that resembles Kung Fu. According to her, single bamboo drifting originated in the Chishui River Basin in Guizhou, where local people used to attempt to cross the river more than 1,000 years ago. Nowadays, it has evolved into a competitive sport and a kind of performing art. Performers need to stand upright on a nine-meter-long bamboo pole while drifting on a river, a skill that is very hard to learn due to the difficulty involved in balancing on the bamboo pole while on water.

Yang learned the techniques from her grandmother when she was only seven years old. To gain a better command of the skills, she had to practice difficult movements on a bamboo pole while enduring all the physical pain that came with mastering the motions.

Inspired by her grandmother, Yang would later try to apply her own dancing skills to the artform. She was finally able to perform dance moves, including doing the splits, while drifting on a bamboo pole on a river at the age of 15.

To make single bamboo drifting more attractive to the public, she began dancing on a bamboo pole while wearing opera costumes and traditional Chinese attire, including hanfu, a type of traditional clothing of the Han ethnic group.

Yang has also shared videos of herself performing single bamboo drifting online in recent years. She has garnered about 1 million followers on short-video platforms, and her elegant and innovative performances have won high praise from viewers from both at home and abroad.

Noting that innovation is vital for carrying forward Chinese traditional cultures, Yang said she is dedicated to promoting single bamboo drifting through more innovative and creative performances.

Yang plans to set up a single bamboo drifting training base to let more people appreciate and admire this intangible cultural heritage. She also hopes to form a group of performers to come together and undertake performances at a wider number of scenic spots in order to tap into their respective cultural resources, in this way helping tourists learn more about local history and culture.


(Source: People's Daily Online)


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