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Laurent Hou

"QILIAN HEAVENS": BACKSTAGE WITH TIBETAN DANCERS

"QILIAN HEAVENS": BACKSTAGE WITH TIBETAN DANCERS

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Qilian is a small city in Qinghai province, China. It is part of Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Haibei. In may 2016, the local dance company commissioned the young choreographer Laba Zhaxi to direct the show "Qilian heavens". He is known for his knowledge of both traditional Tibetan dances and contemporary dance. All the dancers are ethnic Tibetan, mostly aged between 20 and 30. Their show aims at an audience of Han Chinese tourists who visit the region and enjoy its magnificent landscapes. The dancers are deeply attached to their identity, culture and religion. They nonetheless also aspire to modernity: motorbikes and sports cars replace horses, and clothing style is often pretty far from the typical Tibetan traditional costume. On stage, costumes are paired with the use of a huge LED screen. When the show is over and dancers can have fun, they head to karaoke, where they alternatively sing Tibetan music and mainstream Chinese pop, while drinking great amounts of beer.
Text and images by Laurent Hou.

Qilian is a small city in Qinghai province, China. It is part of Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Haibei. In may 2016, the local dance company commissioned the young choreographer Laba Zhaxi to direct the show "Qilian heavens". He is known for his knowledge of both traditional Tibetan dances and contemporary dance. All the dancers are ethnic Tibetan, mostly aged between 20 and 30. Their show aims at an audience of Han Chinese tourists who visit the region and enjoy its magnificent landscapes. The dancers are deeply attached to their identity, culture and religion. They nonetheless also aspire to modernity: motorbikes and sports cars replace horses, and clothing style is often pretty far from the typical Tibetan traditional costume. On stage, costumes are paired with the use of a huge LED screen. When the show is over and dancers can have fun, they head to karaoke, where they alternatively sing Tibetan music and mainstream Chinese pop, while drinking great amounts of beer.
Text and images by Laurent Hou.