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Maogusi dance and hands waving dance is a kind of primitive dramatic form for Tujia people to commemorate ancestors’ exploiting wilderness, fishing and hunting. It is called the "living fossil" of human drama culture by the circle. Maogusi is the oldest dance as well a folk martial art to impart hunting skills, which is a complete reveal of Tujia people's life in ancient times.
Though not a mature dramatic form, Maogusi has already possessed plots depicting ancient labor and life and usually conveys its contents through dance and narration. The dance is performed by 15 people wrapped in straw, symbolizing their hairy ancestors. With simple settings, the show begins with one person who is followed by some of the same dress. They shake the straws on their body as well as the straw band on their heads, performing situations like slash and burn cultivation, hunting, fishing, receiving the bride, teaching and tossing the torch. Maogusi has a style of its own from content to form. All through the show the performers speak and sing in their dialect, sometimes the audience may reply in dialect, too. The dancers change moves all the time but all the moves are imitating the rough appearance of their ancestors, funny and humorous.
Among all the traditional dances in Tujia Nationality, hands waving dance is the most influenced one and the one that is delighted to be heard and seen by Tujia people.
"Hands waving" is what they call "sheba" in Tujia dialect, meaning men and women dancing together to eliminate ominous things. In the past it is usually held after dinner from January 6th to 15th of the lunar calendar. On the occasion, people gather in front of the hands waving hall, hold a sacrifice ceremony, and then dance with the company of drums and firecrackers, forms and numbers of people are unlimited. In specific, one person beats the drum in the center and men and women surround him and dance with the drum beats, with their hands and feet moving towards the same direction. Normally they change a set of form every week or few weeks to represent different contents such as going on an expedition, hunting or daily life.
Simple and unadorned, hands waving dance is deeply loved by Tujia people for its graceful dance, vigorous move and cheerful atmosphere. Since the founding of new China, hands waving dance has been explored and renewed by art workers and now has been an indispensible program on stage and in daily life of Tujia people.