First Taste of Dance 第一次触舞
I didn’t love dancing as a child – the word “dance” did not exist in my life. Yet, I was tied to dance for a lifetime. I often ask myself, how did all this happen? Where does “fate” come from? Until 2017, when I returned to my alma mater to celebrate the 125th birthday of the Chinese and Western Girls’ High School (Note), I stood on this lawn and suddenly felt a movement in my heart, as if faintly touching the seemingly traceless but traced life track.
In 1945, after the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japan, I returned to Shanghai from the southwest and entered the second elementary school affiliated to the Chinese and Western Girls’ Middle School.
The Chinese and Western Girls’ High School emphasizes both science education and art education, pays attention to the cultivation of people’s comprehensive literacy, and is known for cultivating students’ all-round development. For example, our English class, such as our English class, not only in the classroom teachers and students answer in English, but also often divided into groups of students, each adapted the content of the textbook into a short play, performed in the whole school. I remember that there was a play called “Mother’s Birthday”. It is about the mother forgot her birthday, but the children remember it firmly and prepare gifts. One of them is a beautiful apron. In the play, I play mother. So far, when some old classmates meet, they will imitate me to open the present and say in surprise: “Oh! Such a beautiful apparel.” It can be seen that the impression is still quite deep. These activities are very common in schools and become common practice. The history class taught the modern history of the Opium War, and the teacher arranged for us in the drama “Lin Zexu”. The performance of Lin Zexu is Xue Hongshi, one of my few friends in Beijing who still have contacts. I played his wife. Lin Zexu wanted to ban smoking, but his wife wanted to smoke, which was severely criticized by Lin Zexu. These plays not only helped to consolidate the knowledge learned in the classroom at the time, but also played a very profound and subtle role in shaping our lifelong thinking. Looking back now, I find it both interesting and meaningful.
Three years later, I was promoted to the middle school of Jiangsu Road. The style of art is even worse. In addition to reading and free discussion, the beautiful campus is also full of the sound of piano and singing. Piano lessons are listed in the curriculum as mathematics, physics and chemistry. We hire first-class teachers, and provide pianos no less than the conservatory for students to practice, and often organize presentation competitions. All day long, the music of the small piano rooms is melodious, flowing with a strong musical atmosphere. Fortunately, the teacher appointed by the school was Niu Ende, who later became a famous pianist. (Now in the United States.) She teaches carefully and meticulously, especially the analysis of music, in simple language, from the background of the musician to the specific circumflex of each note, the priority is not overlooked. Niu Ende liked me very much, and sometimes even free extra time, saying that I have a good sense of music and strong understanding, and advised me to become an accomplished pianist in the future, otherwise he would betray the god-given pair of good players who are suitable for playing the piano. My musical savvy was inspired by her. It is a pity that not only has I not done what she said, but the piano art has long been ruined, and I am really ashamed of my great love for the teacher.
Chorus is also one of the brands of Chinese and Western Girls’ Middle School. It is said that the Chinese and Western women’s chorus was the first Chinese chorus in Shanghai to beat a foreigner in the competition, and it was a sensation at the time. From childhood, chorus has always been a multi-voice mixed sound, and sometimes even difficult a cappella chorus, using staff. Those who are gifted take vocal lessons separately. In the school concert, the piano, violin, chorus, solo and ensemble were wonderful.
When graduating from the third year of high school, there is bound to be a big show. In the past, most of them were English original plays such as “Snow White” and “Little Match Girl”. After Principal Xue Zheng hosted, he began to rehearse plays by famous Chinese writers, such as “Home” and “Thunderstorm”. My cousin Wu Ning This year’s graduating class performed “Let’s Get Dare”, she played Wu Wang, and people will still talk about it a long time later! The next two performances were Guo Moruo’s “Peacock Gall” and “Tangdi Flower”. The stage background was painted by the art teacher. The lighting in the auditorium was first-rate and the performance was beautiful.
The lawn where I stand is where folk dances from various European countries are taught. Every Wednesday night, the beautiful small auditorium in the building behind me will be brightly lit. Everyone dances to the party with the dance that they just learned, and is accompanied by a cheerful melody. Because those dances, in addition to the influence of music and dance, also contain a lot of social etiquette in Western society. It was also here that I participated in the summer camp organized by the Youth Art Troupe for the first time and came into contact with the so-called new literature and art.
In November 2017, Chinese and Western Girls’ High School celebrated its 125th birthday. Our group of seventy or eighty-year-old ladies are all meticulously tidying up, all with silver hair and spirits, once again gathered here. It was an unforgettable day, and the sun was shining brightly. The girls’ middle school is still the same as it is, wrapped in a strong artistic atmosphere. The piano in a corner of each classroom is open and you can play at will; the place on the top floor where you used to study late at night can enjoy students’ art exhibitions; the auditorium’s theater is full of performances Fragments of “Principal Xue Zheng” created by a gray-haired but still young student and the sensational musical “Les Miserables”. The combination of Chinese and Western, original and classic, presents together, and shines on the birthday stage of the girls’ middle school.
When I walked to the lawn, a group of girls were lining up to go to the small auditorium to play chamber music. They were full of energy, laughed openly and arbitrarily, and the purity that couldn’t hide, sweetened the air of campus. Seeing young people who are serious about doing things and daring to take responsibility, full of “Chinese and Western style”, the heart is touched, as if they have seen themselves back then, so they pressed the shutter, took this photo, and “touched dance” for the first time in this life. The place to pay tribute to the commemoration of the passing youth.
Why is this century-old girls’ school able to create batch after batch of modern women with extraordinary temperament, independent thinking, and family and country feelings? I think the key is that it advocates the balance between the spiritual world and the material world, and focuses on the stimulation of the spiritual potential of intelligence, emotion, beauty, and creativity. Never let the students curl up in the narrow “textbook vision”, but give the students’ thinking space to gallop, with the eyes of appreciation and trust, lead the girls to nourish the spirit, chase the light in dreams, and open the way to the endless horizon. The window of the wilderness! . It uses the three words “Live Love Grow” to summarize and lead the spirit of Chinese and Western Girls’ High Schools, with the goal of cultivating new women with truly independent personality, forming a “self-reliance”, “integration of knowledge and action”, and “freedom and openness”. Tradition and personality.
Not all of the participants in the Folk Dance Party on Wednesday night were just for fun like me. Companion Yang Wei is a true dance fanatic. One day, she told me that someone who had returned from Japan opened a short dance class and taught a dance that he hadn’t seen before. Driven by curiosity, I signed up with her and spent the entire summer vacation in it. I received training in elementary ballet and modern dance “The Law of Nature”, and finally ranked Chen Gexin’s “Poppy Flower” as a report. He was 12 years old.
What I never expected was that the returnee dancer was Wu Xiaobang, the great master of Chinese dance. (Note) The purpose of going there was not “dancing” at all, but playing. After the training class ended, I had forgotten everything I learned. Even so, he became a participant in China’s first dance drama experiment and became one of the few early disciples of Wu Xiaobang. To this day, this act was purely accidental at the time and forgotten in the back of my head afterwards. Every time I swagger and sit firmly on the top of my resume, becoming an important qualification. Because the first item at the beginning of every form is:
When did you first receive formal dance training? Who is the teacher? The unmistakable answer can only be: it started in 1948. Master Wu Xiaobang. Many American friends who saw this place opened their eyes in surprise: “Oh! Are you from a modern dance?” What’s even more incredible is that in the following decades, I participated in countless formal events day after day. I didn’t leave a photo for the dance training. I didn’t expect to find the information about Wu Xiaobang in order to write this text this time. I unexpectedly found a report on this training class in the newspapers and magazines. What’s even more amazing is that the work is still being completed. I was found in the stills of “Poppy Flower”. what! The world is really unpredictable, there are too many accidents in life. But many things, cause and effect, silky threads, it seems that everything has been arranged long ago. Seventy years later, when I look back, it seems that I have suddenly found a thread. Just like a kite in the sky, no matter how high it flies, it seems to be looming, but in fact the line connecting the starting point has never been broken, but it changes with the wind direction and speed. What I’m doing now is to find the fuzzy lines and string them together…
中西女中强调科学教育和艺术教育兼备，注重人的综合素养培养，以培养学生的全面发展著称。比如我们的英语课，比如我们的英语课，不仅课堂上师生对答全用英文，而且还常常由学生分小组，各自把课本里的内容改编成短剧，在全校表演。记得有一个剧叫“Mother’s Birthday”。讲的是妈妈忘了自己的生日，孩子们倒都牢牢地记得，并准备了礼物。其中一件是一个漂亮的围裙。在剧中，我演妈妈。至今一些老同学见面，还会模仿我打开礼物，惊喜地说：”Oh! Such a beautiful apparel.”的样子，可见，印象还是蛮深的。这些活动在学校里非常普遍，蔚然成风。历史课教现代史鸦片战争，老师就给我们排了话剧《林则徐》，演林则徐的是我少数至今尚有联系的北京好友薛鸿时。我演他的太太，林则徐要禁烟，太太却要抽烟，受到林则徐的严厉批评。这些戏深入浅出，不仅当时帮助巩固课堂所学的知识，对我们一生思想的塑造，也起着非常深刻的潜移默化的作用，现在回想，觉得既有趣又意味深长。
这所百年女校为什么能造就一批又一批具有非凡气质，独立思想、家国情怀的现代女性？我认为关键在于它主张精神世界和物质世界的平衡，注重智性、情感、美感、创造力这些精神潜能的激发。从不让学生蜷缩在狭窄的“课本视野”中，而是给学生的思维以充分驰骋的空间，以欣赏、信赖的目光，引领女孩们滋养性灵、逐梦追光，为她们打开通向一望无际的原野的窗！。它以“Live Love Grow”三个词来概括并引领中西女中的精神，以培养真正有独立人格的新女性为目标，形成了“自强自立”、“知行合一”、“自由开放”的传统和个性。
周三晚Folk Dance Party的参与者中并非个个像我这样只是为玩。同伴杨威就是一个真正的舞蹈狂热爱好者。一天，她告诉我，有个从日本回来的人开了个舞蹈短修班，教一种以前没见过的舞蹈。好奇心驱使下，我和她一起报名参加, 整个暑假泡在里面，接受了初级芭蕾和现代舞 “自然法则”的训练，最后排了陈歌辛的《罂粟花》作为汇报。时年12岁。