Chinese Folk Dance
Traditional Chinese folk dancing has a long history dating back to 4th millennium BC with it varying from region to region and ethnicity to ethnicity. Traditional Chinese folk dances include the Dragon Dance (Lion Dance) with drum music, Ribbon Dance with long silk ribbons waving gracefully, Fan Dance with exquisite feather or silk fan, Sword Dance with a performing-used sword expressing heroic postures and there are also various dances for particular ethnic regions.
In the Han Dynasty, the Music Bureau waas established and that largely prompted the development of Chinese folk dancing and music. Since ancient times, each ethnic region of China has its own folk dance style.
Chinese folk dancing expresses the lifestyles and customs of a region or an ethnicity. China has fifty-five ethnicities that each created their own dancing styles and inherited precious cultural elements.
The most well-known and appreciated Chinese folk dance styles are ethnic dances such as the Xinjiang Folk Dance of the Uyghur ethnic group, which is generally vivacious and cheerful; Inner Mongolia Folk Dance of the Mongol ethnic group, which mainly conveys the scene of hunting or horse riding; Tibet Folk Dance of the Tibetan nationality, which was mostly for blessing or celebrating and also Yunnan Folk Dance of the Dai nationality which is famous for its Peacock Dance that shows adoration for nature.
The Lion dance is a popular Chinese folk dance and is one of the earliest Chinese folk dances. The Lion Dance is usually performed at festivals or special occasions, and involvers dancers imitating the movement of a lion in a delicately decorated lion costume. Most of the time, this typical Chinese folk dance is performed by one or two people that operate one lion, or several groups operating several lions. The front performer and sometimes the only performer of a lion mainly controls the head, jaw, and eyes, while the back performer controls the back half of the lion. There are quite a few performance features such as jumping between the platforms of different heights and using stage equipment such as firecrackers, drums, etc. The Lion Dance is also frequently performed at the Spring Festival to celebrate or welcome the wonderful New Year and this traditional Chinese folk dance expresses happiness, blessing, and good will for luck.
The Peacock Dance is a popular Chinese folk dance and it is the most typical dance of Dai nationality. The dancer mainly imitates the peacock's actions such as strolling, spreading its tail, quivering the wings or even flying. This Chinese folk dance requires extreme body flexibility of dancers and also graceful posture, especially the gesture from shoulder to fingers. Due to the natural conditions, many peacocks live in the Dai ethnic area in Yunnan, and local people regard peacocks as the symbol of beauty, wisdom and prosperity. Thus, the Chinese folk dance that imitates peacocks shows people's desire for a good representation of the peacock. The most famous peacock dance is called "Soul of Peacock", which was firstly and frequently performed by the globally well-known dancer Yang Liping. It is not only a Chinese folk dance performance, but more of a deep understanding of the relationship between human and nature, and is also an expression of adoration for nature.