Jingxing Lahua is a unique singing and dance performance originating from Jingxing county, Hebei province. With a history of more than two thousand years, the county boasts as Home of Folk Arts in China. There are over a hundred kinds of folk arts in the county. Jingxing Lahua is one of them. The art dates back to Song Dynasty (960-1279) and flourished in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Jingxing Lahua has many genres. The most outstanding representatives are those in Dong nanzheng village, Zhuang wang village and Nan gudi village. There are many stories about the origin of the Lahua performance, of which one widespread story is "La Huang” (meaning fleeing from famine-stricken areas), which shares a similar pronunciation with Lahua, the other is a love story featuring a girl named La Hua. Some people also say that the performance was created during the transport of peonies, which is lahua in Chinese.
Traditional Jingxing Lahua belongs to yangge dancing (a popular Chinese rural folk dance), but it has its own features with unique actions, such as turning the shoulder and the hip, which reflect strength and softness, as well as wildness and reservedness.
Various props of Lahua performance enjoy good meanings. For example, umbrellas bear the wish for favorable weather for crops, and vases mean peace and happiness. The number of performers varies from two people to hundreds or even thousands.
The music of Lahua performance combines Hebei folk music with temple sounds and court music. The strong rhythm goes with the dynamic dance to create an overwhelming scene.
Nowadays, the performance also combines traditional styles with modern characteristics to present fascinating artistic effects with rich affections.
Jingxing Lahua has made great achievement since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It was first staged in Beijing in 1957 and won the second prize in the second national folk music and dance performance. It was also performed during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing in 1979. In 1991, the Lahua dance was performed at the national yangge competition in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, and won the top prize. It also won another two prizes in national competitions in 1996 and 2004 respectively.
Jingxing Lahua has seen a rapid growth since the 1980s, with increasing invitations to perform around the country. Mainstream media like the China Central Television (CCTV) have also contributed to the publicity of the Lahua culture. Currently, it is seeking to attract audience from overseas.