A dance for spring
January 22, 2012 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Here's a dance performed by Yang Liping and her niece Cai Qi at a Chinese New Year gala recently. It's called "Spring" and will likely mark the end of a celebrated career. Yang Liping (杨丽萍) is perhaps most famous for her gorgeous arm movements in the Peacock Dance (雀之灵), and here's one more dance performed entirely in silhouette called "Moon". (MLYT)
posted by of strange foe (7 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
posted by chapps at 3:57 PM on January 22, 2012

Amazing. Thanks!
posted by tickingclock at 4:09 PM on January 22, 2012

Yang Lipinpg's Peacock Dance was such a hit because it was an accessible combination of folk dance with modern choreography. It made her a household persona; I had heard my parents referring to that specific dance once or twice when I was young. I've watched a few youtube videos of it, and the one linked, despite its recording quality, I feel is the best one. Sublime.
posted by polymodus at 5:22 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is her style then a mixture of Chinese folk dancing and modern dance? It's unlike anything I have ever seen -- and it's stunning.

And it's especially wonderful to see such wonderfully expressive upper body movements. I feel like traditional western dancing (like ballet) puts too much emphasis on the legs to the exclusion of the upper body. (This was especially bad when I had a chance to see Swan Lake by an excellent Russian company - but the theatre was not raked and I (being a bit shorter than my companions) couldn't see anything below the level of the dancers' waists. I saw nothing but heads and mostly still upper bodies moving around the stage. My SO thought I was being cranky when I complained - it was weeks later when he realised that I couldn't see what he saw, and he felt bad for disregarding my complaints.
posted by jb at 8:22 PM on January 22, 2012

Lang Liping is an amazing dancer; her young relative is also quite good. I'm so glad I got a chance to see these dances and I intend to share them with others. Even though I think the sound track could be better in at least one of the clips, I am enthralled by the dances. Thank you for posting this.
posted by Anitanola at 9:33 PM on January 22, 2012

I meant to include an apology for the poor sound quality of the peacock dance video...

jb, I'm not equipped to tell whether Yang's style is a mixture of Chinese folk dancing and modern dance, but the write-ups on her dance often mention how much she is inspired by nature and folk dances. She is of a minority Chinese ethnicity, and the province she is from, Yunnan, is the most ethnically diverse in China with a lot of different traditional dance styles.

One online article mentions that she started to keep her hair long after studying the traditional dance of the Wa people (佤族). The Wa-s worship fire from the sun, and never cut their hair regardless of gender. In their dance, shaking of (long) hair symbolizes fire, and Yang incorporated this signature movement into her choreography (as seen in the 'Spring' dance.)
posted by of strange foe at 9:59 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

That lady can pop and lock like nothing else.
posted by mooza at 4:04 AM on January 23, 2012

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