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Hezhe people perform Shaman dance at Expo

06-24-2010 08:45 BJT Special Report: Shanghai World Expo 2010 |

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The Hezhe people, who have the smallest population among China's 56 ethnic groups, are presenting what makes them unique to visitors at the Shanghai World Expo.

These residents of Heilongjiang Province in China's northeast depend on fishing for their livelihood and believe in shamanism. Let's take a look at how those characteristics are reflected in Hezhe song and dance.

A Hezhe boy is performing one type of Shaman dance. Shaman dance is what the sorcerers performed during rituals, to pray for gods' protection, to dispel evil spirits and diseases. The drum the performer is holding serves as both a ritual implement and a musical instrument. And the dance is accompanied by the drum beats and the murmuring of spells.

The performance, infused with a mystical flavor, won applause from the viewers.

Hezhe people show more of their everyday life with other song and dance performances. Some depict their fisherman's way of life, or their festival celebrations.

Sun Zhongkui, actor of folk troupe from Heilongjiang, said, "Hezhe people have lived as fishermen since ancient times. So our songs and dances always revolve around fishing labor."

An audience member said, "It's good! I gained some new knowledge of the ethnic group. I knew they were fishing people. And now I know they also have wonderful songs and dances."

The Hezhe ethnic group has a population of only four-thousand. They live at the convergence of the Songhua River, Heilongjiang River, and Ussuri River.

Now, as they perform at the Helongjiang pavilion, they are making their presence felt by more people.

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