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Let your hair dance
Short video by Joakim Stampe
Live performance Circle of Fire
When I was 10 years old, I saw a hair swinging dance performed by ethnic Wa women in Yunnan province. It was energetic, passionate and powerful. I remember I touched my own hair and thought: Could I do that? Unfortunately, I had a very short boyish hair cut at the time. That hair cut was a result from a big public debate which I was one of the guest speaker.
In 1993, I represented school kids in a TV show debate : “Should primary school student wear uniform? Is long hair allowed?” The result was we started wearing school uniforms and all girls in school had their hair chopped. I kept the super short boyish hair style until when I was 19 and moved to London. I remember It was one of my first conscious decision that I will grow my hair long again. For my teenage years, long hair symbolised freedom and the idea of self.
Wa 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. 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 clean her hair while they chatted with each other joyfully. Under the moonlight, they danced and song happily with smooth hair #flying about in the #wind. From then, Wa people have developed a convention that man comb hair for woman and woman dance with #longhair. The #customs have been held nowadays. Hair swinging dance has a strong #rhythm and unchained melody. Sometimes like #flames roaring, sometimes like overshooting #waterfall and sometimes like huge rolling #waves. I am not a dancer, but I do love to explore the relationship between movement, body and mark making.
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