The word Sainaim origins from the name of a rhythm, which is steady enough to be applied to various melodies. The Sainaim dance is a kind of entertainment folk dance for performance. Sainaim dancers don't sing while Sainaim singers don' t dance. The Sainaim dance, widely spread all over Xinjiang, is lively and vivacious without any regular form. The dancers keep to the rhythm of the music but perferm in an impromptu way. Singly or as couples, the dancers show much charming grace. The Sainaim dance requires an intermediate speed at first and then gradually becoming faster. When it reaches the climax, all the dancers exclaim "come on!" with much enthusiasm. At this time, the deafening sound of gongs and drums and the voices promote a climactic atmosphere, making all present feel extremely excited.
The Sainaim dance is indispensable for a Uygur wedding ceremony. Generally, the day before the wedding, the couple and their relatives and friends are invited to a friend's home for a celebration. On the wedding day,when night falls, the groom and his friends go to the bride' s home for the ceremony. On the way, they sing and dance. In fact, they perform the Sainaim dance all day long. During the wedding ceremony, the Sainaim dance alternates with some games including passing bowl flowers, wine cups, belts etc, and sometimes singing mokamor, guessing riddles, composing poetry and so on. When dancing the Sainaim, everybody dances in a circle and the crowds clap their hands and sing. Special singers accompany the dance with sweet songs that are, in addition to traditional ones, composed on the spot with old melodies but new lyrics describing the scene and expressing their happy feelings.
The Sainaim dance, closely combined with local music, has different styles in different places in Xinjiang. The representative dance in the south of Xinjiang is in Kashi, which is simple, lively and graceful, and the one in the north around Ili is powerful and free with the characteristics of Mongolian rhythms, while the one in the east of Xinjiang around Hami is peaceful and interesting with the characteristics of the Han ethnic group.
The key feature of the Sainaim dance is the perfect coordination of the head, shoulder, wrists, waist and legs, for example, the moving and shaking of the head, the winding, turning, and kneading of the wrists. The dancer can swing the waist with the chest, bend down to one side and bend over backward. Moreover, the dancer can stand on his tiptoe, step, stamp or turn his foot etc. Another feature is the steady clear and quick dancing steps with a little tremble. The Sainaim dance is generally accompanied by hand drums.
The dance largely comes from real life, such as the posture of holding a hat, that of rolling up the sleeves, that of dragging on the dress, that of looking far, that of stroking the hair and so on. When the performance reaches the climax, dancers will squat down with one leg bent, shoulder shrugging, and hands clapping before the belly. Then, the dancers stretch both hands downward.lift the right hand above head, turning the twist, and place the fingers of the left hand on the knee, while tenderly moving the neck twice. The dance movement described above includes clapping hands, shrugging shoulders. turning twists, and finally moving the neck, which particularly expresses the peers' happy and satisfied feelings.