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Chinese Ribbon Dance

Chinese Ribbon Dance Workshop

Grade Levels: K and up

Length of Program: 45 minutes~1 hour

Charge varies depends on the size and number of the performances

The Beauty of Chinese Ribbon Dance

The workshop starts with a brief history of the Chinese ribbon dance. Chiao Bin Huang, the artist, will then demonstrate the choreographic movements and explain the differences between Western and Eastern dance. The traditional Ribbon dance costumes, which are beautiful but complicated in design, are introduced as well. Children are invited to guess the correct way the costumes should be worn and how the costumes pieces go together. They usually enjoy the “guessing” game and have fun in offering various/different ideas and solutions. Sometimes discovered new ways of wearing the costumes!

After completing the costume lesson, Chiao Bin Huang will perform the Fan and Ribbon dances. The dance lesson and practice follow. The children will be introduced to various ways of managing/manipulating the ribbons as a means of self-expression. All the children will be asked to participate in exploring different emotions with the ribbon. Later in the workshop, children will learn to accompany the ribbon dance movements with traditional Chinese music and improvise a short dance piece with different expressions.

To promote the understanding of Chinese culture in the teaching of the ribbon dance, the most important idea Chiao Bin Huang likes to share is” that with a free spirit and loving heart, the ribbons become the extension of our arms. It helps us to express our feelings, whether we are sad or happy. Then we become the masters of the ribbons and ourselves.

History of Chinese Ribbon dance

Chinese Ribbon dance began in the Han dynasty (206B.C.-420A.D.). It became very popular in the Tang dynasty (589-907A.D.). Tang is the golden age of dance and Art in China history.

There was a very famous story about a man who tried to kill the Han Emperor. Hsiang Po, using his sleeve, blocked the sword and saved the Emperor’s life. The Han people wished to remember him with gratitude. They choreographed the sleeve dance with the dancer holding short ribbons to dance. The ribbon was truly the symbol of Hsiang Po’s sleeve. During the Tang Dynasty, people started using longer ribbons and studying their motion and movement in space, which resulted in more variations of the ribbons. A long silk ribbon was later attached to a stick and it made the dance more lively and creative. At the heart of ribbon dance’s enduring popularity are the various emotions that moving ribbons can portray -- passionate as a beautiful rainbow, lithesome as a wandering dragon. The dancer is always inspired by a sense of freedom. It truly creates a free spirit and loving heart.