Ethnic Dance (五)

Chinese Ethnic Dance 民族舞蹈

Mongolian Dance 蒙古族舞蹈

Ethnic Dance

Peacock Dance《孔雀舞》

Another major system is ethnic dance. There are 56 ethnic groups in China, and all of them sing and dance. Since Kangbar Khan processed the grassroots culture of self-entertainment into exquisite stage art, everyone’s brains have been opened up, and dances and dancers of various ethnic groups have emerged like a blowout. In the 1950s, Jia Zuoguang’s “Ordos Dance” won the gold medal in the fifth “World Youth Festival” in one fell swoop, pushing Mongolian dance to the top of the world dance pyramid for the first time, and I was fortunate to take the lead under his personal guidance. The lead dancer of this dance. After that, his solo dance “Dance in the Bowl” became my repertoire.

Note: Jia Zuoguang
(April 1, 1923-January 6, 2017)

Because of the dance image he created, many people mistakenly thought he was a Mongolian, but he was actually Manchu. Under the guidance of Wu Xiaobang in the late 1940s, He just arrived in Inner Mongolia. But he put on a Mongolian robe, rode a horse and galloped across the vast grassland, and trains horses, milks, mows, rides and shoots, wrestles, and drinks like every ordinary Mongolian. Being a Mongolian. Like a “gold digger”, Jia Zuoguang carefully digs and collects Mongolian dances and refines them. Nowadays, many colorful Mongolian dance movements are actually created by Jia Zuoguang based on life at that time, but the herdsmen all agree. That is from their “ancestral heritage.” Jia Zuoguang has truly become the founder of Mongolian dance. He has created a large number of works reflecting the life of the grassland, which is deeply loved and affirmed by people.

Representative works include “Horse Horse Dance”, “Goose Dance”, “Saber Dance”, “The Joy of Herdsmen”, “Oroqen Dance” and so on. Joined the Beijing Dance School (now Beijing Dance Academy) in 1955, and later served as the head of the school and established a choreographer class. “Ordos”, “Cup Bowl Dance” and “Milkmen Dance” created in the 1950s and 1960s won the first prize, gold medal and bronze medal of the World Youth and Student Peace and Friendship Festival respectively. “Oh Ba” (Fish Dance) won the Three Gorges Cup Award. From the 1950s to the 1980s, nearly 150 dance works were created, which are popular at home and abroad, and the number of awards is second to none in China. He is the most famous dance performance artist, choreographer, and founder of Beijing Dance Academy, known as the “God of Oriental Dance”. Achievement as another pioneer in the Chinese dance industry.)

Dancers like Jia Zuoguang who have dedicated their lives to the discovery and processing of national dance are not one or two, but one generation and two generations, such as Cui Meishan, Dao Meilan, Modgema, Ayitula, and now Yang Liping, etc. Due to historical reasons, in some regions or ethnic groups, dances that naturally spread in life are on the verge of extinction. With the advent of the new era, they are also eager to have dances that represent their own nation, and even directly call for help from professional dancers. “Happy Long Wind” and “Grass Hat Dance” came into being in this way.

“Languo” Yi language means the Yi nationality. They live in large and small Liangshan Mountains in Sichuan and have been living under slavery. They even wear handcuffs and shackles when they sleep. There is dancing in the shackles of their lives! After liberation, slavery was abolished. Dancer Leng Maohong witnessed the ecstatic state of Yi compatriots shaking their hands and feet when the handcuffs and shackles were opened, and was deeply moved. He took this as a basis and added the “foot crutches” in the sacrifice activities of the Yi people. With dynamic features such as “Dang Skirt”, he created “Happy Long Wind”, because it accurately expressed the character and aspirations of the Yi compatriots, it was unanimously recognized by the Yi compatriots, and spread all over the country at once. From scratch, the Yi nationality was created. Dance, Yi nationality dance has now become a large and distinctive Chinese folk dance.

Similarly, “Kusagasa Dance” is also carefully created by professional dancers. National dance competitions were frequent at that time, and the Li nationality living in Hainan also hoped to participate in dances representing their own nation. Chen Qiao, a dancer who has long lived in the settlements of the Li nationality, created the “Grass Hat Dance” based on the Li nationality women’s ingenuity, good knitting characteristics, and the posture of akimbo, shaking hands, crotch, and crutches.

In short, some grasped the aesthetic characteristics of the original form of a certain ethnic dance, strengthened it, and transformed folk dance from a field form into an exquisite stage art masterpiece with ornamental value; some explored the contemporary significance of ancient folk customs from the perspective of modern people. , To create brand-new dances that can reflect the temperament and meaning of the nation. They are like “style paintings”, reappearing new scenes in the lives of people of various ethnic groups. The dancers in the 1950s and 1960s opened up a new world of Chinese folk dance with the spirit of “hard work, continuous self-improvement, inheritance, pioneering and innovation”. Only from scratch has made China’s national dance shining like stars, and it has become the country with the richest dance art in the world.

Note: 3 Images Pictured Above
“Ordos”, “Happy Longwind” and “Grass Hat Dance” which I arranged for students in the United States

Two of my favorites are Korean dance and Dai dance.
I think Korean dance best represents Eastern human culture. It is graceful and elegant, soft and long. The biggest feature is breathing, which comes from the “breath” of the natural theory of vitality in China. Zhuangzi said: “The life of human beings is the gathering of qi. The gathering is life, and the dispersion is death.” China believes that the foundation of human beings is “qi”, which is the most prominent and representative of Chinese human body culture that differs from the West. Sign. Korean dance is to permeate this “qi” throughout the dance, throughout all parts of the body, use the breath to grasp the inner strength, control the inner feelings and the unity of form and spirit. The length, severity, and urgency of qi provide a rich and delicate inner rhythm, even delicate to the fingers, ankles, and toes. So he moved loosely, unhurriedly and smoothly, and calmed down in a graceful and graceful manner. It doesn’t matter whether you fall into a rock hard, or whether it is subtle or deep. Both can achieve a balance between one yin and one yang. From the middle, we can clearly feel the shadow of the Confucian “medium” thought. The right state creates the calm, steady, harmonious, and implicit beauty of Korean dance.

Soaring above the heads of all these dancing elves is “Peacock”. On a high hill, a peacock proudly spread its beautiful tail feathers, and rushed down-drinking, taking pictures, bathing, and then dancing… The peacock is the totem of the Dai people, a symbol of auspiciousness and happiness, and the peacock dance has almost become the representative of the Dai dance. But our performance of “Peacock Dance” has experienced a big earthquake, marking a great revolution in the development of national dance. It turned out that the “Peacock Dance”, which was circulated in the folk tradition of the Dai people in the past, was all performed by men with heavy props that symbolized wings, which greatly hindered the free exercise of the human body, which is the basis of dance.

At that time, the choreographer of the Central Song and Dance Ensemble Jin Ming (also the choreographer of “Red Silk Dance”) boldly removed the heavy wooden wings and replaced it with women’s performances. At the same time, the tube skirts usually worn by Dai women were changed to large skirts like peacock tail feathers. This new “Peacock Dance” was dazzlingly beautiful once it was released, and it amazed everyone. Unexpectedly, a group of conservatives jumped out, saying that these bold innovations were haunting national traditions, undermining national unity, and even saying that raising their legs so high was an insult to the Dai women and lashed out. However, the trend of innovation is unstoppable, and there is still endless debate here. “Peacock Dance” has won the championship in one fell swoop in the world and won the gold medal.

Note: I organized the “Korean Fan Dance” and “Peacock Dance” for the Sino-American Dance Club.



Mongolian Dance 《蒙古舞》