African international student enthralled by ethnic dances in China

2023-12-04 Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- A 25-year-old girl from Lesotho, a country in Southern Africa, has mastered a variety of traditional dances like Yangko and Dunhuang, along with ethnic dances from Uyghur, Dai, and Mongolian people, after four years of study at Northwest Normal University.

"I've been learning dance since I was 13 years old. I found that the costumes and dance styles of each ethnic group in China are different, and inspiring," said Mo Li, or Molly (her Chinese name).

Exposed to ballet and modern dance since childhood, she grew fascinated by online Chinese ethnic dance videos.

As there were no Chinese dance-related courses offered at local universities in Lesotho, Molly was determined to pursue her studies in China. Seizing an opportunity, she was enrolled at Northwest Normal University in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, in 2020, embarking on a systematic study of Chinese ethnic dance.

During her time at Northwest Normal University, Molly had an immersive encounter with the origins and essence of Dunhuang Dance.

Molly (back row, C), from Lesotho, Africa, performs the Dunhuang Dance in east China's Shandong Province. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

The Dunhuang murals depict a diverse array of dance scenes in nearly every cave, resembling a "dance museum."

"They are truly beautiful. I saw many hand gestures and movements from Dunhuang dance in the murals, which has deepened my understanding of the discipline," Molly said.

In September 2023, Molly and her classmates were invited to Shandong to perform Dunhuang Dance. Adorned in ethnic costumes and holding a pipa, Molly received applause from the audience for an excellent performance.

"Many people had never seen a foreigner perform Dunhuang Dance, so they were surprised. It gave me great encouragement and increased my confidence," she said.

"China has developed transportation, and I take advantage of my free time to travel, to learn more about Chinese history and culture," Molly said.

During her time in China, she shared her dance knowledge on social media platforms, gaining many fans.

She also hopes to document her daily life and studies through videos, allowing more people to understand Dunhuang Dance and China.

Molly said, "Many Chinese people live and work in Lesotho, providing significant help in healthcare and transportation construction for local people.

"The Chinese government has provided many opportunities for foreign students to study in China. It's great," she said.

Molly performs the Uyghur ethnic dance. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

Molly expressed her desire to stay in China after graduation to continue studying ethnic dances and bring her knowledge of Chinese dance back to Lesotho.

She hopes to inspire more children in Lesotho to learn Chinese ethnic dances, understand Chinese culture, and thereby promote cultural communication and exchange between the two countries.


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