Brief aus China

Lena Andrén went dancing in Kaili

I travelled to Kaili, the capital of the Miao-Dong Autonomous Prefecture of Qiandongnan, in Guizhou Province in the south west of China, to see a Lusheng Festival. My greatest concern was that it would turn out to be a tourist trap. For months I dreaded the thought of smiling girls and boys in perfect ethnic costumes performing in a well rehearsed display of folklore clichés.
Kaili, like most Chinese towns, is quite ugly, but the countryside – if you ignore the air-polluting industries – is very picturesque.

And densely populated; in every valley Hmong villages climb up the hillsides, surrounded by rice paddies. My fears were not abated by the visits to some of these villages that were included in the trip. In every village we were met with the traditional Hmong welcome of rice wine, song and dance (and the nagging question of whether the villagers were paid to do this or if they just relied on our inevitable shopping expenditure).
But all my worries and misgivings were alleviated when we finally arrived at the “festival,” which turned out not to be a traditional Lusheng Festival at all. This “Lusheng Festival” was a kind of fair held in connection with a meeting of local officials. ...

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Tanz April 2008
Rubrik: Brief, Seite 49
von Lena Andrén