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Herdsman dances his way into spotlight
2020-03-25 10:29:27
[Photo/Xinhua]

Lhaba was born into a poor family of nine in the county of Dinggye, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region. Since he could remember, the family depended on merely 0.3 hectares of land and a dozen cows and sheep to live.

"We struggled to make ends meet by eating the barley reaped from the fields," said Lhaba, 32. "It's impossible to make a fortune from the land or herding."

Lhaba had his own fun as a herdsman, even in poverty.

"I would dance on the grassland when I was herding," he said. "Sometimes I was so into it that I forgot to look after the cows and sheep."

Little did Lhaba know that he would become an internet celebrity in China with his distinctive Tibetan dancing skills.

Currently, his account has drawn more than 700,000 followers and about six million likes on video-sharing app Douyin, also known as TikTok.

From a herdsman to a star, Lhaba's story combined luck, friendship, and most importantly, his passion for dancing.

VENTURING OUT

After struggling in poverty for many years, Lhaba decided to go out of his home county and work in a big city, as many of his fellow villagers had improved their lives by doing the same.

In early 2018, Lhaba went to the regional capital Lhasa and started working at a construction site, earning 3,000 yuan ($424) a month. The high work intensity was exhausting, and sometimes he was burned out.

"My best relaxation tip was dancing in the Zongchop Lukhang Park every week," Lhaba said. "Dancing has always been a huge part of my life."

The park is right behind the iconic Potala Palace and is a favorite place for Lhasa residents on weekends. The park often features a variety of Tibetan opera performances and Tibetan dance shows. Lhaba, a huge fan of Tibetan dancing, became a frequent visitor to the park and often busted his dance moves out in front of crowds.

Compared with local people's dancing skills, Lhaba's moves were more freestyle and had more "swag." His smile while dancing made him popular among local residents.

"He may have grown up in a poor family, but he never complains," said Lhaba's friend Ngawang. "He has a sunny disposition; he is kind and humble, and he spreads positive energy around."

Ngawang is a friend Lhaba made in the park. They had a lot in common, and soon, the friends decided to start a business together.

Before the 2019 Tibetan New Year, they rented a store in Lhasa and started selling Tibetan desserts. In less than two months, they made more than 20,000 yuan.


 
 
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