Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show
is based upon the Imperial Tang Dynasty, which ruled China from 618 to 907 and was the most prosperous and glorious of all the 13 dynastic periods in the entire Chinese history.
The show is an outstanding exponent of this ancient, stable and affluent society, keeping alive its splendid culture and providing an insight into the peaceful life style of the period.
As an art form, the show has its roots in folk 'fêtes', when dances were first performed by people as part of rituals of prayer for a good harvest or a better life. Over thousands of years, Chinese dances developed from a few simple postures or gestures to become delicate and artistic, reaching a peak during the Tang Dynasty. Unlike some other regimes, the Tang was open to outside influences and was willing to take in the best of various art forms of not only the past dynasties, but also the ethnic groups in Northwest China, as well as Central and West Asia.
Poetry combined with the skilled playing of musical instruments, singing, dancing and stunning costumes create this modern presentation and bring these Chinese ancient arts, distinct traditions and customs back to life.
The dances in this show are an elaborate performance based on the records of historical books and literary works and is internationally renowned as the most accurate rendition that reflects the richness of that golden age.
Since its debut in 1988, the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show has become classic entertainment and been warmly appreciated by over 5.5 million guests from around the world. The production has toured many cities in China as well as numerous foreign countries such as Japan, Russia, Korea, Singapore, Norway and Denmark.
The Theatre Restaurant of the Tang Dynasty is the only one of its kind in modern China that is comparable to the best international theatres. The main hall covers an area of approximately 2000 square metres and can comfortably seat over 650 diners at a time. The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show as a cultural exhibition, may be a total contrast to some of the contemporary shows in modern Las Vegas, but is nevertheless hailed by visitors as the Lido of the Orient.
The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show has a prologue and eight acts.
The King of Ever
(Tang Dynasty Instrumental Performance)
The first performance of the show celebrates the appreciation of the people towards their ruler who had bought peace, wealth and tranquillity to the kingdom.
During the performance the orchestra plays various Chinese musical instruments which are no longer in use. At Royal Banquets, the court musical masters played this grand number to praise the Emperor, and to wish him a long and happy life. The magnificence and wealth of the Tang era is conveyed to the audience through this vivid and lively performance.
White Ramie Cloth Costume Dance
This folk dance originating in the Western Jin Dynasty (265 - 316) became popular during the Tang Dynasty when the dancers wore costumes made from white ramie cloth. This cloth is woven into beautiful dresses, with very long sleeves, worn by the dancers in gracefully choreographed routines to demonstrate the its silky flow in a heavenly setting.
Da Nuo Dance - Sorcerer's Dance
Superstition has always been strong in Chinese folklores and the "Da Nuo", better
known as the sorcerer's dance is a kind of wizard's dance that is said to have been created by Huangdi, the ancestor of the Chinese nation. This dance was first performed over 2,000 years ago for good luck and to dispel evil spirits and plagues. Later, during the Tang Dynasty, it became a grand ceremony and would be performed in the courts and among the noble people in Chang'an every Lunar New Year. All of the dancers wear masks, dancing to mysterious classical music.
Rainbow Costume Dance
One of the most famous dances from the Tang Dynasty. According to legend, the Emperor Tang Xuan Zong had a dream. In his dream he travelled to a palace on the moon, where he saw celestial women clothed in feathers, dancing in the sky on rosy clouds. After the Emperor awoke, his favourite concubine Yang Gui Fei, renowned as being one of the four most beautiful women in Chinese history, choreographed and performed this dance according to the Emperor's recollections.
Warriors Triumphal Dance
This dance was usually performed by the soldiers to celebrate their triumph upon their return from the battlefield. It is said to be created by Emperor Taizong, who was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty and titled the 'Prince of Qin' before his enthronement.
With his artistic talent both in music and dance as well as his military ambition,
Taizong used this dance to show off the empire's powerful military strength.
Happy Spring Outing
This is an instrumental ensemble with the musical masters demonstrating their superb skills by playing captivating melodies to praise the graceful beauty of early spring on various unique and incredibly complex traditional Chinese instruments, such as the bianzhong (serial bells), the guzheng (plucked zither), the yueqin (moon guitar), the ruan (plucked lute), the erhu (spike fiddle), the yangqin (hammered dulcimer), the dizi (transverse flute) and the sheng (vertical pipes).
This magnificent scene depicts the emperor holding court and the lifestyle and customs of the noble classes as they gathered along the "Qujiang River" outside ancient Chang'an to celebrate the New Year and the great prosperity and harmony of the Tang Empire.
Spring Outing Song
This act features the master performer, Mr. Gao Ming, who has won many national and provincial awards and is internationally recognised as the premier performer of the pai xiao (pan pipes), a 3000-year-old Chinese wind instrument. Mr. Gao performs this number, which originated during a Tang Emperor's accession to the throne when, during the ceremony, a flock of orioles flew over the Emperor's head. The Emperor was so impressed by this good luck sign that he ordered his court musicians to compose music for the Pai Xiao, which would imitate the sounds of these majestic birds.
Ta Ge Dance
Ta Ge, literally meaning singing while stamping the feet, is an age-old traditional clog dance that was popular in the palaces as well as among the common people of the Tang period. This performance represents the people celebrating the Mid-Autumn-Moon Festival, the harvest and worshipping the Emperor in a beautiful area near his palace at the foot of Li Shan Mountain.
The dance is basically performed by dancers standing hand in hand, dancing and beating time to a song with their feet. The basic movements are swaying the back, relaxing the knees and hips and twisting the waist to form a three-bend posture. The barycentre of the dancer is in the lower part of their body, but by waving their long sleeves it adjusts the body movements without leaving a visual impression of falling down.
Ta Ge Dance - Finale
In this final scene, with its magnificent scenery designed to display the harmonious and prosperous society of the Tang era, as the people are joyfully dancing to the cheerful music, the Tang Emperor appears and joins in the celebration. For the people of ancient days, this was a distinctive honour. In this performance, the Tang Emperor parades with his noble men through the festival grounds to give his blessings to the people of his kingdom.
The Tang Dynasty Music & Dance Troupe has 32 master musicians (prevalently female) who play various ancient Chinese instruments, including the hand-plucked stringed Piba, Rang, Guzheng, Erhu, Yangqin, Dizi, Sheng, Paixiao, 24 Tone Bronze Chime-bell, Suo Na and a group of percussion instruments.
The Creative Team
Xne Li Na - Artistic Director and Executive Choreographer
Ji Zhe - Musical Director and Musical Conductor
Gao Ming - Senior Advisor of the Tang Dynasty, Music Composer and Song Writer
Li Na - Assistant Artistic Director and Choreography Director
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