The Mechanic of the Uyghur Dance - Crazy video!

The Mechanics of the Uyghur Dance

February 20 | 4 Comments

A spirited Uyghur dance in the streets of Kashgar, Xinjiang

The Uyghur dance tradition like none other.  No celebration, either religious or otherwise, takes place without a bit of loud music and a dance floor.  It really is a treat for the eyes even if your ears are collateral damage and I’ve taken the liberty of catching some of it on film for you.

Before you take a look at the video, though, read this brief overview of the Uyghur dance

Breaking down the Uyghur Dance

You’ll notice two things right off the bat when you watch this video.

  • An old man doing a Uyghur dance at a wedding It is very common, if not expected, for men to dance with men and women to dance with women.  Co-ed dancing still occurs, of course, but it seems to be less frequent.  Thankfully there’s no contact involved in the dancing, however I still find myself laughing when I get on a dance floor and I have another man twirling, singing and flailing his arms all around me!  It’s more than a little uncomfortable for those who have never done it before.
  • This dancing looks easy, right?  Just shuffle your feet and move your hands in constantly reversing arcs and you’ll be fine.  Wrong.  It’s deceptively difficult.  All it takes is watching one foreigner make a fool out of himself “mimicking” what he sees on the dance floor and you’ll know that there’s a little more finesse involved.  The women are even harder (or so my wife says) because they have to move their hands and head in slow, exotic movements while keeping their torso somewhat straight and their feet constantly changing.

In the following video you’re going to see two types of celebrations: religious and matrimonial.  The first part was taken in Kashgar outside the Id Kah Mosque immediately after Ramadan.  As is tradition after their huge religous ceremony, all the men gather in the mosque courtyard and celebrate with music and dancing.

The rest of the clips were taken at various weddings we’ve attended around town.  My personal favorite is the old men at the end who look a little tipsy and took up half the dance floor with their wild movements and huge smiles!  Enjoy!

Keep the volume low…I couldn’t equalize the sound

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

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  1. I love Uyghur music…I think perhaps I like it so much because of its similarities with various Middle East styles… although its clear that the dancing is unique! dancing in big circles is something that is not seen in my culture, but I have observed it in various Pakistani and Afghani dances. ahh the world is quite diverse, and that makes incredibly wonderful. thanks for posting!



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