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Dance
2004/06/09

      Dance also has a long history in China. On 5,000-year-old colored pottery vessels unearthed in Qinghai's Datong County are painted three drawings of people dancing. The entrancing poses of the Han Dynasty dancers depicted in murals and elsewhere give mute testimony to the further development of dance by that era. During the Tang Dynasty dance reached new heights as Prince Qin Storming the Enemy Line and other still extant works testify to.
      The Han and China's 55 other ethnic groups each have their own rich and distinctive dance tradition. Nearly 1,000 folk dances are performed throughout the nation. Among the most common are the Han people's much beloved Yangge Dance, Dragon Dance and Lion Dance, the Colorful Lantern Dance wherein the dancers perform with colorful lanterns in hands and the Flower-Drum Dance, with the performers accompanying themselves with drums while they dance; the vigorous Mongolian Andai Dance; the Xianzi Dance, a Tibetan dance where the dancers wave their long sleeves; the Sainaimu Dance, an enthusiastic Uygur dance with a characteristic neck movement; the Yi people's Courting Dance, where the dancers dance while clapping their hands; the Dai people's graceful Peacock Dance, marked by the undulations of the waist; the Korean people's Fan Dance; the Miao people's Reedpipe Dance; the Yao people's Long Drum Dance; the Li people's Straw Hat Dance; the Zhuang people's Shoulder Pole Dance; and the Tujia people's Hand-Waving Dance.
      Dance-drama is an art form new to China. In the early l950s and mid l960s, Chinese choreographers created a number of dance-dramas drawing on techniques used in traditional operas and folk dances. Productions of this type include Stealing Magic Herbs, Master Dongguo, The Small Sword Society, Luo Shgngjiao, Liu Hulan, Five Red Clouds, and To the Tune of Die Lian Hua. The l980s witnessed a great flowering of dance-dramas, with over 100 new creations. One particularly outstanding work, Along the Silk Road, expressed the friendship between Chinese and foreigners, while telling the story of how Chinese silk was transported to the Western Regions along the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty. Two works on Chinese legends, Flight to the Moon and Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, were also greeted with popular acclaim. In recent years, artists and performers from all over the country met to compare notes and enjoy one another's performances. Many excellent dance-dramas emerged from this meeting, including Ashima, Whisper of a Flute over the Sea, Chu Music, The Rustic Poor, Vast Land, Border City, and Snowflakes.
      Ballet was first introduced to China in the l950s as traditional Russian and European ballets began to be performed along with some Western modern dance. Since 1979, Chinese ballet artists have been developing their own style. Such great Chinese works of literature as Lu Xun's New Year's Sacrifices, Ba Jin's Family, Cao Yu's Thunderstorm and Guo Moruo's The peacock's Courage as well as internationally famous works such as The Little Match Girl have been made into ballets. Today, Chinese ballet dancers can be said to have reached their maturity, as their artistry continues to soar to new heights, as is evidenced by the many prizes they have won in international ballet competitions.



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