Dance of the Nations in Dong fang hong (1964)

This is the last performance number in the 1964 Epic Spectacular East is Red. The language is mainly Chinese (titles); the performers all also ethnic Chinese; the meaning of the songs is salutational; the allegory is a dedication to a Chinese emperor (Mao tacked on to the Palace gate) and his dynasty (the Party).

From the outside it seems a kind of minstrel show, or transvestite vaudeville topped over with indoctrination, as if the Nations were schoolchildren who were poor at words but very skillful at conveying their allegiance via dance gesture.

A mapping of the rotational sequence makes it clear as can be however that the diligently mastered Minority dance/song all performed by ‘Han” Chinese except for the prima roles -all but one female -all express defensive concern via-a-vis unsympathetic or pressuring or allied but (for that reason) vulnerable neighbors. There is here is much more going on her than entertainment. A Soviet hived-off Mongolia/Manchuria (obviously over the Amur river,,..) could not be permanently severed ; a Kazakh (Moslem) secession in Xinjiang – such was was already troubling the Soviets); a (north) Korean change of sides or alliance with the (US. backed Sygman REE/japan; a majority of MIAO/Li indigenes on HAINAN already with a history of anti-Chinese violence; the CIA arms smuggling in E Tibet (Kham) and a Tai/Lve Theravada trans-border “state” straddling Thailand and Burma and nesting place for smugglers of all sort.

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