At the end of the lesson, the students are expected to:
a. identify Chinese fan dance;
b. explain the history of Chinese fan dance;
c. classify the costumes or props use in Chinese fan dance; and
d. demonstrate the different steps in Chinese fan dance.
The art and tradition of the Chinese fan dance have captivated audiences for two thousand years. Just one of many forms of traditional folk dances, fan dances has been preserved to share the stories and beauty of Chinese culture.
the Chinese fan dance is performed in celebration of Chinese culture. It represents beauty, grace and delicacy, according to the Chinese Educational Development Project. It also expresses feelings of joy. The dance is composed of consistently changing rhythms paired with consistently changing body positions. Feather fans and silk fans both are part of the traditional Chinese dance that has its roots in the Han Dynasty, circa 206 BC.
While archaeologists have found pottery depicting Chinese folk dances dating from about 4000 to 2000 BC, the fan dance is believed to have begun during the Han dynasty. This dates the fan dance to around 200 AD. It was also during the Han dynasty that the first effort was made to collect and preserve the country's folk dances. Thankfully, this practice became important to following generations and folk dances of old are still shared today.
Chinese dance was divided into either civilian or military dance and their movements can vary based upon the classification. Civilian fan dances tend to be more flowing and detailed, celebrating grace and beauty. They derived from early dances celebrating the distribution of the food gathered from hunting and fishing; people would dance holding feathered banners. The military dancing was done with weapons, in coordinated group movements. This evolved into the movements used in military exercises.
Like most other forms of folk dance, the Chinese fan dance developed as a way to share stories, preserve the culture and to communicate feelings and emotions without words. This form of communication and preservation was vitally important to the Chinese, as dances were created even before written symbols. Chinese fan dances include a specific type of semantics, symbolism, vocabulary and structure so as to allow the dancer to communicate her intentions.
The fans are used to highlight the graceful movements of the dancers and as extensions of very delicate poses. They can be used as a sort of prop, representing a basket of food, a gift or a found treasure. The fans are made of a variety of materials including feathers, paper or bamboo and they reflect the highest level of craftsmanship and artistry.
Japanese flat fan (uchiwa)
Japanese fans are made of paper on a bamboo frame, usually with a design painted on them. In addition to folding fans (ōgi), the non-bending fans (uchiwa) are popular and commonplace. The fan is primarily used for fanning oneself in hot weather.The fan symbolizes friendship, respect and good wishesThey are given on special occasions, and they are also an important stage prop in Japanese dance.
1. Get fans made of feathers or silk and hold them in each hand while standing. With your arms held out to each side, begin fluttering the fans while raising them above your head and lowering to the side. This step may be repeated throughout the choreography by facing different directions or including walking steps. As the choreography varies, the specific techniques of opening, closing and fluttering the fans remain.
2. Rhythmic Changes
After lowering the arms while fluttering the fans, bring your arms in front of you (as if you are reaching for something). With a count of 8, open and close the fans by turning your wrists in and out. Repeat for another count of 8. Continue by tilting your upper body to one side while raising one arm overhead while the other arm is out to the side. Remember to keep fluttering the fans throughout all the arm and torso position changes. Lower arms back to the start position with arms to the side.
3. Positions of Power
Bend your knees, moving up and down, while fans are held close together and arms are outstretched in front of you. You'll turn your torso to the right and left (see Fun Dance Workshop at dancemedia.com). Raise your arms abruptly overhead while crossing one fan in front of the other. Hold this position for a few seconds as this pose represents power. The dance will either continue with new positions or repeat the positions introduced earlier.