Classical Chinese Dance

This is the Chinese character “舞”, meaning DANCE.

The origin of the Chinese dance has its root in the ancient rituals that were designed to communicate with the forces in the universe. Later, it also became a popular form of entertainment. Below is a brief introduction of common classic Chinese dances.

Drum Dance

This is a brick carving image of drum dance unearthed from a 2,000-year-old Han Dynasty tomb in Nanyang, Henan Province.

Drum dance was mainly used on ritual ceremony, transferring the messages between heavens, the earth and the underworld.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS.COM

Eric
A long history of beating the drums. 👍

All Things Chinese
The Incas also use the sound of the drum to communicate with the force beyond.

Eric
Woah that’s a cool idea. Like the old saying, make enough noise to wake up the dead. lol 🤣

All Things Chinese
It depends on how the drum is beaten.

The universe is formed by nothing but the various vibrations caused by yin-yang dual play, while yin and yang emerge from nothing through the split of the essentially united/integrated nothingness.

Each vibration has a unique frequency. When a beating pattern shares the same pitch with a certain rhythm of a tremor in the universe, they empower each other and the info message can get through.

In most cases the frequencies of the vibrations are different, therefore they obstruct each other’s access thus appear to be solid, even by essence they are both nothing.

It is why most people can’t walk through walls. The purpose of the yin-yang split is to allow the dual play to perform. The purpose of the dual play is to create different rhythms which are used to form elusive structures for dramas to stage.

Chinese artists bring the ancient Chinese drum dance to life.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS.COM

Eric
Nice one, those drums are so cool.

All Things Chinese
It was initially used as an audio post to share with all forces.

Eric
O like signalling in times of war. 

All Things Chinese
Quite right.

Sword Dance

This is a brick carving image of the sword dance, unearthed from a Han Dynasty tomb in Nanyang, Henan Province.

In ancient China, sword dance was both an essential skill of martial arts and a popular form of entertainment.

Sword dance by a contemporary Chinese artist based on images carved on bricks unearthed from a 2,000-year-old Han Dynasty tomb

Line Dance

In Zhou Rites, one of the Confucius classics compiled 2,500 years ago, there are references on the ancient Line Dance. It is described as a set of ritual expressions that includes music, singing, dance and rites.

The Line Dance can be categorised into cultural and martial two types, and each type can further be grouped into four classes: Two-Line Dance (二佾舞) for high officials, Four-Line Dance (四佾舞) for major royal members, Six-Line Dance (六佾舞) in red robes for sages and Eight-Line Dance (八佾舞) in yellow robes for emperors.

When presenting cultural dance, the performers would hold one or three feathers in the right hand and a bamboo flute in the left, with each body movement swinging to the tune of a spoken word or a music note.

In a fifth-century document, an entry is found referring to the actual practice of the Line Dance: The rites should include the Six-Line Dance. However, since the music band was not available, we had only staged singing performance. But now, as the orchestra is ready, the Six-Line Dance will be the part of the sacrificial presentation (元嘉立学, 裴松之仪, 应舞六佾; 以郊乐未具, 故从权奏登歌. 今金石已备, 宜设轩县之乐, 六佾之舞, 牲牢器用, 悉依上公).

Long-sleeve Waving Dance

Han Dynasty figurines in the posture of long-sleeve dance

Long-sleeve dance during an outdoor music festival 1,000 years ago.

A mural unearthed from a Tang tomb depicts an outdoor music and dance party of the time.

The early form of Chinese “Square Dance” in long sleeves, part of an ink painting by a Ming Dynasty artist.

Square Dance becomes extremely popular in recent decades among Chinese mid-age women as a form of group outdoor physical exercise.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS.COM

Eric
“Rock and Roll will never die, it’ll go down in history just you wait and see” by Danny and the Juniors – 1958 – this is evidence it’s been here for a long, long time. 🤗

soxfan1957
The Tang Dynasty, one of the strongest and most prosperous empires in Chinese history, was a golden age for musical development. Many of the Tang emperors were musicians or composers themselves. Yes, I even see a Gibson Guzheng. (Note: Most of this info came from a China Travel site. Can you what part I made up?)

Eric
Maybe the Gibson Guzheng lol. But it is a good idea 😁

Tang Dynasty-style long-sleeve dance.

Traditional Chinese long-sleeve dance on today’s Chinese stage.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS.COM

soxfan1957
I saw Shen Yun a little while back a classical Chinese dance and music troupe,. They performed this type of dance.

All Things Chinese
Shen Yun’s “classic Chinese” performance is just like Tibetan Lama’s “Buddhism”, twisted and distorted.

soxfan1957
The 2nd act got very political. What was strange (but neat), I was interviewed by a person who wrote for a Chinese newspaper. It happened during the intermission before I knew what the real agenda was.

Still, I did enjoy the performances.

All Things Chinese
It’s a propaganda branch of Falun Gong, a dangerous cult based on Shamanism in China’s northeast corner with strong Manchu influence. It worships a human guru as god and uses black magic to control its members by allegedly installing an intangible wheel in the member’s tummy but claims to be a branch of Buddhism.

In many ways, it’s very much like Tibetan Lamaism which is also based on a local demon & human guru worship Shamanism and uses voodoo arts to attract and control the members but claims to be a branch of Buddhism. It practices group sex as its top-level yoga-style cultivation.

Both have been turned into political movements funded by National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA’s financial arm.

While Falun Gong is banned in China, Tibetan Lamaism is free to practice. In fact, Tibetan Lamas are the only religious practitioners who receive the government allowance since traditionally they do not participate in any form of production.

It is out of the political consideration that this cult is allowed to flourish in China, but I think on this issue Chinese government is quite shortsighted and irresponsible.

soxfan1957
Thanks for the insight on this. I did know some of it because as I stated the tone of the show changed drastically after the intermission and that got me curious.

Shoe Dance

An ancient dance popular during the Spring and Autumn Period, the Warring States Era and Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, commonly presented by the palace maidens on state banquet.

The classic shoe dance was not accompanied by a music band but the sound of the dancers’ shoes hitting the floor.

Dragon Dance

The dragon dance is the most popular performance during the festivals of Chinese New Year, Lantern Parade and Dragon Boat Race throughout history to this day. 

Historically, China had the most advanced hydropic projects and irrigation system in the world to fight drought. On top of that, Chinese people traditionally would also perform dragon dances as a way to communicate with the celestial beast controlling the water resource from the higher space to provide a good rain during the drought seasons.

Lion Dance

The lion dance is one of the indispensable components of the Chinese New Year festival. However, lions are not native animals in China and until 1900 years ago when Persian envoys brought lions to Emperor Hanwu as gifts, Chinese people had no idea what lions looked like.

Since the Tang Dynasty, the lion dance developed into a popular form of entertainment along with dragon dance.

During the Qing, lion dance also became a covert political expression. On the lunar January fifth when the business reopened in the new Chinese year, “lions” would be asked to “bite” a bunch of green vegetable hanging from the head of the door frame then stomp on it. Such performance is called “采青”, meaning “to pick green”. Green is in the same pronunciation with “Qing”, the name of the Manchu Dynasty, thus its hidden message is “踩清”, meaning to squash the Manchu reign.

Fan Dance

This is a classical Chinese dance with opera and ballet twist: Fan and Brush.

The dander uses the fan as a brush and writing while dancing in the legendary music “High Mountains and Flowing Water”.

During the Spring and Autumn Era (770 BC-403 BC), scholar-official Yu Boya moored his boat at a hillfort and played qin under the moonlight. The music attracted the attention of a woodcutter who listened to the recital on foot for hours.

When asked for feedback, the woodcutter responded that the first piece praised the loftiness of the mountain and the second applauded unceasing flow of the river water.

Yu Boyao took the woodcutter as his soulmate and promised to meet him again next year. But woodcutter died before the date and was buried at the spot where they were going to meet. When the musician arrived, he held an audience-less recital in front of the lone grave then smashed the qin against a stone. He never played music again.

Since then, “he who knows your music” became a common expression to describe soulmate. And High Mountains and Flowing Water, a piece of music allegedly composed and played by Yu Boya, and listened and reviewed by the woodcutter, is still one of those most frequently performed on today’s stage in China.

Drunk Dance

Tang Dynasty palace dance performed by contemporary artists on a square of Xi’an, the ancient capital of the Tang.

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