Yingge dance or 英歌, which literally translates to ‘hero’s song,’ originated in Chaoshan in South China’s Guangdong province.
The dancers wear heavy makeup inspired by the ‘108 heroes,’ the main characters in Water Margin, a Ming dynasty novel.
In the story, the said characters start off as 108 demonic generals who were initially imprisoned before being accidentally set free. They then turn over a new leaf, becoming 108 heroes who oversee justice on earth.
A trifecta of dance, Chinese martial arts, and Chinese opera, Yingge has been recognized as a form of national-level, intangible cultural heritage.