National Ballet of China History Term Paper

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In the flower-drum dance, they performers used drums as they danced.

Most Chinese dances derived from "folks" or people who danced during celebrations in communities until the Han dynasty (WorkArtsWest 2005). In the Han era, a musical entertainment court would be established for the imperial court, documented and enhanced folk songs and dances. The political stability and economic prosperity that followed during the Tang dynasty allowed the growth and flourishing of poetry, music and dance between 618 and 907 AD. Dances in the Tang dynasty received past techniques from the Zhou, Qin, Han, Wei, Jin and Nanbei dynasties. Earlier in the rule of this dynasty, Buddhism was introduced in China and trade broadened. As a consequence, social relationships expanded rapidly and dances were influenced by folk dances from other countries, like India, Rome, Persia, Korea, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam and other central Asian countries. It also merged with other fine art forms, such as painting, scenery, and colorful costumes, poetry, classical music and drama. These combinations peaked in the era and credited the Tang dynasty as the golden age for dance in ancient China (WorkArtsWest).

In the early 50s and mid-60s, Chinese choreographers created dance-dramas, deriving from the techniques of traditional operas and folk dances (Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of Finland 2005, WorkArtsWest 2005). Examples are "Stealing Magic Herbs," "Master Dongguo," "the Small Sword Society," "Luo Shgngjiao," "Liu Human," "Five Red Clouds," and "To the Tune of Die Lian Hua." These dance-dramas reached a height with more than 100 new productions. The ballet was first introduced in China in the 50s as traditional Russian and European ballets with some Western modern dance. Since 1979, Chinese ballet artists have been evolving their own genre from the literary works of Lu Xun's "New Year's Sacrifices," Ba Jin's "Family," Cao Yu's "Thunderstorm," and Guo Morou's "The Peacock's Courage." Chinese ballet dancers are viewed as having matured and achieved with the awards they have been received in international ballet competitions.

Ballet first showed up in the early 19th century Shanghai (CCTV 2005). China was then reeling from the impact of the Opium War, during which Western powers established themselves in the city. At this time, Russian immigrants had ballet performances and built ballet schools.
Madam Dai Ailian, an overseas Chinese, studied in on of London's famous dance schools and returned to China in 1940. She used a basic ballet training methods in teaching students. The British Royal Dance Academy now honors her for her contribution in popularizing the art through the setting up of a bust. After the establishment of the new People's Republic of China in 1949, the former Soviet Union sent ballet groups to visit the Chinese mainland to familiarize Chinese audiences with this new art form. The result was a political relationship of the two countries. Russian ballet became a positive influence on China's local talents.

The Beijing Dance School, later known as The Beijing Dance Academy, was established in China in 1954 (CCTV 2005). It took experts Yealina and Gusev as artistic directors who then trained the first group of Chinese ballet students. In 1957, the classic "Swan Lake," was performed on stage and signaled the formal entry of the ballet form into the country. The trend first focused on introducing traditional Western ballets. In the 60s, the focus was to combine Western ballet techniques with Chinese themes. This new focus resulted in the standard of one red and one white repertoire for Chinese ballet artists, such as in "The Red Detachment of Women" and "the White-Haired Girl." With these developments, China evolved its cultural revolution, a unique historical epoch. Ballet, however, was first met and regarded with spite as "the weed of capitalism. But when critics began to see it as a potent tool of political ideologies, ballet grew and rapidly became popular.


CCTV. Ballet in China., 2005

Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of Finland. Dance. eGovChina.2005.

Howard, R. National Ballet of China Fuses Peking Opera Flair with Bland Western Choreography in "Red Lantern." San Francisco Chronicle, September 19, 2005.

Orange County Performing Arts Center. About the National Ballet of China

Strate, G. China Dance Journal, Catalogue: Dance Collection Dance, 1996.

Welch, St. History, Houston Ballet, 2005.

WorkArtsWest. Chinese Dance, 2005.

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