Uyghur stage performance: From Sanahi Nafis the reformist artistic troupes to Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO)
by Mukaddas Mijit
15. 7. 2020 10 AM
Uyghur musical art, particularly through its large ensembles of traditional songs and dances, is today mainly performed on professional stages. Broadcast live on television and subsequently shared on the internet, these artistic representations symbolize Uyghur cultural identity. The On Ikki Muqam are only taught in institutions like the Xinjiang Arts Institute in Urumchi. A system of professionalization is perfectly established today, forging the traditional to be more easily represented on stage. With the recognition of Uyghur muqam as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, in 2005, and the meshrep in 2010 (subscribed on the List of Urgent Safeguarding), these Uyghur oral traditions are fixed and crystallized.
However, this institutionalization is not only the result of recent patrimonialization. Well before UNESCO, the reformist intellectual movement (Jadidism) had already begun the process of shaping, staging and institutionalizing traditional arts.
This talk will briefly highlight jadid art movement period, giving insights on how it has influenced traditional music and dance trajectory. It’ll also discuss how parts of Sanahi Nafis’ theatrical creations from the beginning of 20th century were used in recent stage performances.