Wuju


Wuju
(dance drama)
‘Dance drama’ is a comparatively new Chinese theatrical form, which integrates Chinese dance with Western ballet techniques and Chinese melodies and styles with Western harmony. Western instruments usually predominate in a fairly large orchestra. The décor is elaborate, and pieces are structured so as to reach a climax and dénouement and to last a full evening. These features apply also to ballets that have adopted Chinese melodies and characteristics. Soviet artists introduced ballet into China in the late 1950s, including such classical works as Swan Lake and Giselle. The PRC set up a dancing school in 1954 and a ballet company in 1959. Meanwhile, the Central Ethnic Song-and-Dance Troupe (Zhongyang minzu gewutuan), which also collected, preserved, adapted and performed ethnic dances, was established in September 1952.
The piece that launched the dance drama as a new large-scale performing art was the ballet-influenced The Precious Lotus Lamp (Baolian deng, 1957), a fantasy based on an old Chinese legend in which the hero, born of a goddess and a mortal, rescues his mother, who has been imprisoned for marrying the mortal. Another early dance drama was The Small Sword Society (Xiaodao hui), about an incident in Shanghai during the Taiping uprising (1850–64). Though Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing (1913–91), had traditional themes banned during the Cultural Revolution, two of her ‘model plays’ were ballets: The White-Haired Girl (Baimao nü) and The Red Detachment of Women (Hongse niangzijun). The dancing style and movements were clearly ballet, but also had strong Chinese elements: both stories were set in China, the CCP propaganda content was very strong, and the melodies were Chinese. After 1976, older pieces that pre-dated the Cultural Revolution were restaged and many new items created. Traditional themes proved most popular: Tales of the Silk Road (Silu huayu) is set in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and its movements copy images found in the famous Dunhuang Caves, in the west of Gansu province, while the classic novel A Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng) became a fertile source of material for dance drama.
Since most of China’s minorities have distinguished dance traditions (see dance (ethnic)), choreographers were happy to use stories based on their experiences to create new dance dramas. A good example was Princess Wencheng (Wencheng gongzhu), about the marriage of a Tang-dynasty princess to a seventh-century Tibetan king. The first dance drama actually to be written, choreographed and performed by an ethnic minority troupe was Zhao Shudeng and Nanmu Nuonuoc—a Tai piece from the late 1970s concerning the love between a mythical prince and a peacock princess. Some dance dramas have contemporary themes, including those featuring the minorities. In addition, there are dramas in which dance and song are of approximately equal importance, termed gewuju (song and dance dramas). Though ballet is not a particularly popular genre, it is still professionally performed and has produced some innovative items. In 2001, the National Ballet of China premiered Zhang Yimou’s adaptation of his own film Raise the Red Lantern (1991). The piece is called a ballet. It includes Jingju (Peking opera) music with a score composed by Chen Qigang, and has numerous other stylistic elements that are recognizably Chinese, as well as a Chinese story set in China and a Chinese choreographer, Wang Xinpeng.
See also: dance troupes; Geju
COLIN MACKERRAS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wuju — (婺剧) is a form of Chinese opera from Jinhua, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, China. It is also performed in Lishui, Linhai, Jiande, Chun an, Zhejiang, as well as in northeastern Jiangxi province, in cities such as Yushan, Shangrao, Guixi,… …   Wikipedia

  • Red Detachment of Women — The Red Detachment of Women is the title of a novel as well as a film and a ballet, both of the latter are based on the novel. This article is about the ballet. The Red Detachment of Women (Chinese: 红色娘子军, pinyin: Hóngsè Niángzǐjūn) is a Chinese… …   Wikipedia

  • Zhejiang — This article is about Zhejiang province of the People s Republic of China. For the former Chekiang province of the Republic of China, see Chekiang Province, Republic of China. Coordinates: 29°12′N 120°30′E /  …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese opera — Music of China Timeline General topics Traditional Chinese inst …   Wikipedia

  • Pest (music) — Infobox Musical artist Name = Pest Img capt = Img size = Landscape = Background = group or band Alias = Origin = London, England, United Kingdom Genre = Hip hop JazzFunk Years active = 2001 present Label = Ninja Tune Associated acts = Saffrolla… …   Wikipedia

  • China Railway Engineering Corporation — Not to be confused with China Railway Construction Corporation, another railway infrastructure enterprise in the PR China. China Railway Engineering Corporation 中国铁路工程总公司 Type Public Traded as SEHK:  …   Wikipedia

  • Panthéisme — Le panthéisme est une doctrine philosophique selon laquelle Dieu est tout, ou, par exemple dans le panenthéisme de Spinoza, nommé « acosmique » par Friedrich Hegel) tout est en Dieu [1] . Ce mot vient du grec ancien pan (πὰν) :… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • T'ung-shan She — ou Tongshanshe (同善社) « Société de coopération pour la bienfaisance » est un groupe religieux issu au début du XXe siècle de Xiantiandao (先天道), courant syncrétique né au XVIIIe siècle de la mouvance Quanzhen, aspirant à unifier …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tongshanshe — T ung shan She T ung shan She ou Tongshanshe (同善社) « Société de coopération pour la bienfaisance » est un groupe religieux issu au début du XXe siècle de Xiantiandao (先天道), courant syncrétique né au XVIIIe siècle de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • dance troupes — in China consist of three kinds of groups: ballets concentrating on an artistic form which originated in the West; companies, such as the Oriental Song and Dance Company (Dongfang gewu tuan), focusing on both Chinese and foreign folk arts of song …   Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.