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Hair-swinging Dance A Bight Wonderful Work of Wa Folk Dance

The Wa people live mainly in China’s Yunnan Province, a beautiful place with mountains and river around. Since ancient times on, the maidens of Wa people have valued the hair length most. Maidens like to wash hair in front of the bamboo house and sit there to wait for the wind to dry wet hair gradually. What a beautiful scene! Black long hair dance with the wind.


Hair-swinging dance was originated from a beautiful love story 500 years ago. At that time, there is an affectionate couple. The man’s name is Qi Yan while the woman Daier Yi. The handsome and masculine man and his charming looking wife with long black hair are made for each other. One day, they went to dig some bamboo sprouts as food. Unfortunately,they were trapped by spider’s net among the bushes. Daier was in a very embarrassing condition for her long hair all messed up. Qi was expected to be very clever and invent a comb with bamboo to help his wife finishing her hair while they chatted with each other joyfully and sweetly. Under the moonlight, they danced and song happily with smooth hair flying about in the wind. From then on, Wa people have developed a convention that man comb hair for woman and woman dance with hair. The customs have been held nowadays.


Hair swinging dance has a strong rhythm and unchained melody. The movements are so elegant and unconventional,sometimes like flames roaring, sometimes like overshooting waterfall and sometimes like huge rolling waves. From the simple and straightforward primitive dance, we can see the true dance with most direct, pure and adequate expressions.


Hair-swinging dance has the efficacy to help people keep fit and beauty. As a famous saying goes, life lies in movement, hair-swinging dance is no exception.


Compared to other dances, hair-swinging dance is very similar to cervical vertebra dance with the basic movements such as swinging, whipping and rotating. Due to long time sitting in front of computers, modern people usually have problems such as exhaustion, body stiffness, neck ache and so on. Hair-swinging dance will definitely solve them.


Nowadays, hair-swinging dance is more and more popular in the society. In 2007, in the opening ceremony of Licang Tea Culture Expo, thousands of people did a magnificent performance together about the hair-swinging dance, which was granted by Guinness book of records’ Shanghai agent and reported by many media by its big cast, wild hair swinging and elegant movements.

Hair dancing in Peking Opera

Hair dancing is very popular in various types of opera dramas, especially the Peking opera.


Hair dancing, a classic movement involving whipping the hair, is often used to express various mental states such as anger, panic, insanity, despair, pain and struggle etc. Different hairstyles in the opera drama are created and beautified on the basis of ancient people’s dress and adornments. In the drama, Dan, Clean and Ugly are all wearing wigs with varying lengths of either 2 feet 2 inches or 1 foot 5 inches.


The following is the construction method of the hair used for hair dancing. Tie together a bunch of hair, fastening the tie about two inches from the hair tip. Attach the end of the hair to a round cap of about two and a half inches. Finally, makeup is applied and the completed wig is ready to be worn.

The most famous hair dancing artists are Wang Xiaonong and Zhou XinFang. For example, in one of Master Wang’s performances, he plays the role of Chongzhen Emperor, the last one in Ming Dynasty. During this time, the whole country is going to be conquered by Li Zicheng(the late Ming dynasty peasant uprising leader). Master Wang portrays most vividly Chongzhen Emperor’s desperate and panic mood by whipping the hair upright the head and sweeping it back to cover the face like an umbrella. Master Zhou’s best card is to combine the hair dancing with whisker whipping. When hair turns right, whiskers can be whipped towards left. Natural, unrestrained and skilled, we can acclaim it as the peak of perfection.


It is critical for hair dancing to be quick, neat and fluid. These three words are easy to say but hard to realize. Hair dancing differs from sword, spear, fan and peacock feathers. It is hard to balance the strength required to whip the hair. Ordinarily, It will be either dazzling or drifting with improper strength displayed. Actors primarily use the head and neck to control and adjust the hair. If an individual uses the hand to adjust the hair, he is not well skilled and the performance will not satisfy the audience.

The hair dancing is one of the most important dramatic movements with artistic aesthetic feeling. When I was a little girl, I attempted to tie a tower to my head to practice hair dancing because of curiosity, but I never succeeded. Gradually, I learned from Peking Opera the key is to rotate the head in one direction quickly and use the neck as an axel. Only in this way, can the hair be whipped excellently with the inertia effect. Common hair dancing include movements like whipping, raising, rushing, rotating, flashing etc., in many different directions such as left, right, forwards, backwards and round.

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