Year: It was listed in the first national non-material cultural heritage lists in 2006.
Area: It origins in Shanxi Province,grows in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and is popular in Hebei Province, Shanxi Province and Inner Mongolia.
Er ren literally means 'two people', and tai means 'stage'. Er ren tai therefore refers to a kind of folk opera in which two performers, usually one male and the other female, perform onstage. It was listed in the first national nonmaterial cultural heritage lists in 2006. It origins in Shanxi Province, grows in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and is popular in mid and western Inner Mongolia, northern Shanxi Province, and Hebei Province.
Its melody isbased on folk songs. Starting from the end of Ming Dynasty(1368-1644), Er rentai was often performed at festivals, and no formal stage was needed at thattime. It could be performed in a courtyard, a square, or even in a room.
Er ren tai roughly can be classified into two different styles. The one popular in theregion to the west of Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, is usually called'Western Style', and the other, popular in the region to the east of Hohhot is called the 'Eastern Style'. The traditional plays mainly depict the hardships of rural life at that time or praise true love. Some of them are based on mythsor historical stories.
In recent years, Er ren tai is in the danger of dying out as many practitioners are aging or are passing away. In convenient transportation to the rural area where the art formis still popular makes it difficult to do research and collect more informationon it. Therefore it needs to be protected.