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From: China Daily 2011-02-15 08:29:00
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Tap Tibetan dance, make a difference

Five years ago, Suolang was no more than a common farmer and dressmaker in Lhaze county in Tibetan Autonomous Region. But now this ordinary man has made a difference through his wonderful performance of the Tibetan tap song and dance called "Duixie".

Lhaze county in Shigatse is about a nine-hour drive from Lhasa. Here, every morning begins with the fragrance of butter tea and the melody of six-string fiddles. The plucked instrument gives a perfect match to the Tibetan tap song and dance called "Duixie".

The popular rhythmic folk dance has been passed down generation by generation orally for over seven hundred years, without any written record until 2008 when Duixie was enrolled on the protection list of China's oral and intangible cultural heritage.

60-year-old Duixie veteran Laba is the national inheritor of the art form, taking charge to collect Duixie repertoires village by village to write down the scores.

Laba is also known as a teacher among many local practitioners of "Duixie", including Suolang who's been learning the Tibetan tap dance for more than three decades.

Suolang is the star of the audition in a courtyard in Lhaze county. Including him, 20 local farmers from Lhaze county, the hometown of Duixie, are recruited for a TV recorded gala in Lhasa, to celebrate the Tibetan New Year which falls on March 5th this year.

He said,"I can perform over 80 pieces of Duixie. I've performed in Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Without the six-string fiddle, without Duixie, I would still be a farmer and a dress maker. "

Suolang began to learn Duixie from the age of 7, but later supported his family as a farmer and dress maker. He never expected to make a difference through his art, not until 2006 when Suolang earned his first fortune of 5,000 yuan, which he spent to buy the family a tractor.

Also the same year, Suolang took his first flight to Beijing tapping the stage of the famous Great Hall of the People and winning, along with his team, top honors at China's 3rd Display of Minority Groups' Performances.

After "Duixie" became an overnight sensation through its appearance on the Spring Festival Gala of China Central Television on the lunar new year eve of 2007, Suolang's performance schedule has been arranged tightly, a development that has brought significant changes to the whole family. He bought his kids an electronic organ and 6 six-stringed fiddles and the 13-year-old elder son is already skilled at playing both of them.

"I want to earn more money then I can buy a house in Lhasa for my two daughters, then I could move my family members to Lhasa for a better life. I would like to teach my children or kids in my county, if they want to learn Duixie,"said Suolang.

As the new year's coming, Suolang and his family members get dressed in new clothes, set up new prayer flags on their roof, sacrifice traditional Tibetan desserts and highland barley wine, and pray for a better future.

And the year will have a good beginning. When Tibetans gather to celebrate the New Year on March 5th, Suolang will perform in Lhasa to add even more vitality to the festivities.

[editor : ]
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