“Millennium Impression of the Silk Road”
When you explore Urumqi International Grand Bazaar, after you have done all the shopping; one of the thing you should not missed is the cultural show located nearby a theatre. It is also the largest scale of singing and dancing performance in Urumqi. It can accommodate up to thousand people at one time. Ticket sold at RMB 299 (SGD 60 – USD$50) including buffet.
Uyghur Traditional Musical Instrument
When we entered the Grand Theatre, there are already young Uyghur guys and girls to great us with their colorful dance costume. They certainly make us feel very welcome with warmest smiles. At the corridor, you also see Uyghur guys play with their traditional music instrument. Dutar, the long neck instrument (facing us), Ghijak ( like erhu) and Dafli (look like tambourine). All these music instrument can be found in International Grand Bazaar.
Dinner Buffet Cum Performance
There are long tables setting with white cloth await us when we entered the hall. There already hundred of people seated and started to have their dinner. The food served at one corner and you have to go pick up all the thing you like. Variety of choice and food are abundance, so don’t worry. The staff do refill very often. All the Xinjiang speciality can be found here at the buffet smorgasbord, such as rice intestines 米肠子, roasted whole lamb 烤全羊, kebab 烤羊肉串, pilaf 抓饭 and the sour yogurt drinks. There are also free flow of drinks but you need to pick it from the bar counter.
The performance starts at around 8 pm and once the show start, the lights in the theater is dimmed. You can still eat but usually people stop eating and start focusing at the colorful performance. It would be too busy to eat and watch the show at the same time. Hence it is advice to go early to eat then stop eating when the show start.
Uyghur Greet in Chinese
First the Ugyhur MC started to greet us with his perfect Chinese which surprise most of us. Well, they are national of China so speaking Chinese should not be something unusual. However it is still very interesting to see these Middle Eastern looking Uyghurs speak in fluent Chinese.
Music & Dance is their everyday life
The cabaret performance are really lively and all were from the local Uyghurs. They have sharp features and all look very pretty. Some of the guys are a little old and fat but still able to dance very well. Uyghur people have been known for their vibrant music and ethnic dances since ancient times. They can’t live without music and the dance and music occupy a significant place in their life.
Head, Wrist and Thrush Chest
After watching the dance performance for some time, you will notice the Uyghur folk dances are distinguished by head and wrist movements. They use a lot of head and wrist and combined thrust chest and erect waist.
The dance usually is dominated by women, with lot of wrist and finger movement but without face expression. Most of the dance are done with half-closed eyes. Men usually are the one that play the music instrument like the tambourine. Men dance movement is quite cute, they use a lot of shoulders to create the trusted chest move.
One of the iconic Uyghur song in Chinese : The girl from Dabancheng/达坂城的姑娘
Signature move – Fast Turn
Another signature is the fast turn which emphasize speed and followed by an abrupt stop. Glad that they won’t get dizzy after the turn. Must have been practise for years to achieve that.
Uyghur women and their long braids
Uyghur fashion are really colorful, not just in the performance but also in their daily life. They have long plaited hair. Married women wore two plaits and younger girls wore a number of plaits!!
The dancer with a real snake on stage.
The dancer then bring down the snake and hand over to the audience. I was shock that many of the audiences aren’t afraid of the real snake. I would faint to hold it.
4 Million RMB show
It was said that “Millennium Impression of the Silk Road” is a new visual feast produced by the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar which cost 4 million RMB and took a year to set up the most powerful local art creation team in Xinjiang. The story of the show is based on the Xinjiang desert culture, grassland culture and plateau culture with elements of Xinjiang traditional folk songs, dance and music incorporated through modern art & multimedia image on stage.
3 Parts in the performance
There are three major parts in this performance. The first act is about the “Loulan” girl and “Sun Dance” which expresses the feelings of sun worshiping. The second act is about “Silk Road” which show colorful & various ethnic groups on the Silk Road. Hence you see Kazakh & Tajik & Uzbek dance in the second act. The third act is about “Oasis Paradise” shows a harmonious Xinjiang with fertile soil, more men perform in the third act.
Lastly, the most happy moment is when audience get invited up to the stage to dance with the dancer.
Final thoughts :
“Millennium Impression of the Silk Road” is highly recommended as this is a buffet cum colorful performance show. Come early to enjoy the buffet spread before the show start. Once the show start it is harder to eat as the light get dimmed and also you will be too occupied with the stunning performance.