Chinese folk dances are traditional dances that were originally used for ritual worship. But through time, these dances became dances intended for entertainment. As we know, China is a diverse country with many different ethnic groups. China officially recognizes 55 ethnic groups, who each have a different way of life. So it is not surprising that every dance has its own characteristics. Here are some of the folk dances from various ethnic groups in China:
Yangge is a folk dance that originated in the Song Dynasty. This dance is popular among the elders in northern China. Usually during the winter, people in the village of North Shanxi perform the yangge to welcome the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival. Yangge dancers wear bright colored costumes, often in red or green. They are accompanied with drums, trumpets, and gongs.
Most Tibetans can sing and dance. Tibetan dance is divided into 2 types, Xie (large) and Zhuo (small). Guoxie Dance is performed by a group of people. Men and women dance hand in hand and make a circular formation. They dance from sunset until sunrise.
Miao, or Hmong, are the fifth largest ethnic group in China. The Miao people have more than 10 different drum dances, and one of them is the Golden Pheasant Dance. (Watch a contemporary interpretation of this dance.) This dance is held once every 12 years or so, to worship their ancestors, but this dance is also often done as part of a wedding ceremony. This dance is accompanied by a musical instrument called Lusheng (a reed-pipe wind instrument). The female dancers dress up as golden pheasants.
The Dai dance is a folk dance of the Dai ethnic group, who live in southwest China. Most of the Dai ethnic dances mimic the movements of subtropical creatures. Several instruments accompany the dances, such as bronze gongs and drums. Each drum that accompanies this dance is not just for tempo, but is also to communicate the feelings of the dancers. Some Dai dances are: Peacock dance, double dance Drumhead, Fish Dance, Roc Dance, Egret Dance, Bamboo Dance and the Water Dance.
The folk dances above are closely related with the everyday life of ethnic groups in China. They reflect the struggles of life, ideologies, and aesthetics directly of the ethnic group.
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