DRAGON DANCE- CHINA

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DRAGON DANCE, CHINA

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Performed mainly during festive occasions in a group, is a dance form belonging to East Asia known as the Dragon Dance. This “celebratory” dance is said to have originated from China during the Han dynasty. This style of dancing is mainly performed during the “Chinese New Year”, and includes the use of a dragon structure generally composed of wood and bamboo hoops. Apparently, this dance is celebrated (especially during the New Year) since in China dragons are supposed to bring in lots of luck into people’s life. Furthermore, the movements used in this dance style basically possess a lot of “power and dignity”.

a. History/origin of the Dragon Dance:

It was during the Han Dynasty that this form of dancing was first created. According to some historical facts, it was during this dynasty that literature (i.e. ancient texts) talking about various forms of dragon dances was made available. Furthermore, apparently according to a tradition existing in the country, a Chinese dragon is supposed to bring in luck into people’s life. And so the dragon dance was used frequently to bring in luck. For example, in a desperate situation such as a drought, a rain dance generally involving the use of dragon structure was mainly performed in China.

b. Costumes used in the Dragon Dance:

The costume used in this dance style usually includes a dragon structure mainly made from wood and bamboo hoops, and comprising of various sections that are attached to poles. In addition, the dragon structure can range from 2 meters to 25 to 35 meters in length. In terms of colour, green (which usually represents the harvest season) is usually used for the dragon structure.

c. Music involved in the Dragon Dance:

The music for this dance style is mainly produced by musical instruments that include drums, cymbals, and gongs.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Dragon Dance:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of patterns such as “Cloud Wave”, “Whirlpool”, “Tai’ Chi pattern” etc.  In addition, this dance basically includes the dragon structure swinging to the beat of the music produced. Furthermore, complex “spiralled” formations that involve the “twisting and turning” of the dragon body may also be used at times. As for training centres/schools, there are number of them available in China and around the world for all those interested in acquiring knowledge about this “celebratory” dance known as the Dragon Dance.

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