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Folk Carnival of Tapping Dance:a carol for hard working
http://English.xianning.gov.cn 09-08-13
 

  Reported by Du Peiqing and Kong Qingping(www.xnnews.com.cn

  It is a pure kind of folk and countrified dance.

  “Tapping dance is originally called tapping song, derived from the tapping game which folk man and woman are good at, belonging to the folk dance of Chinese Han mountain areas, and is a category of Chu culture, now only spread in the Shinan Town and Daping Town of Tongshan County.” Mr. Zuo Xinquan, who specifically studies the folk dance, folk art forms and other intangible cultural heritages of People Literary Club in Tongshan County.

  Chen Tianshui, the successor of tapping dance, has gone for work elsewhere and hasn’t gone back home for many years, Zuo Xinquan showed us a CD player on tapping dance. With the sound of upbeat music, in the TV screen, several female dancers were dancing by advancing and retreatting, twisting and whirling, patting arms, waist, and pelvic with the music rhythm. Their actions were so light and energetic, and the dance was so soft and skilled that they presented the spirit of Tongcheng people’s humor and optimism thoroughly. The results were simply jaw-dropping.

  Zuo Xinquan introduced that, tapping dance and labor were inseparable. Poetry Source chronicled that when the Emperor Yao inspected countryside, occasionally confronted with two old man rocking stones while moaning, called Hitting the Waves Song, “Go to bed with the lamb, and rise with the lark. I dig a well to drink, and plough a land to food, what it is the emperor’s strength that has in me!” In Clan Society, tapping dance was one of the main joys for the laboring people in spare time, they expressed an otherworldly happy mood, or showed the joy of hunting, fishing and harvest in the way of hitting.

  More than 200 years of evolution

  The self-contained system of the Tapping Dance can be traced back to the era of Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty. At first, tapping dance was just a family game, in which children were accompanied by an adult, they played by slapping each other, and gradually extended to neighborhood villagers. When people are outside the working hours of firewood, planting, and cutting the pig grass, or having a rest in the fields, they all like to tap each other for entertainment. They like to tap each other for entertainment. They fight with one hand, and touch with the other: “be allowed to be tapped three times, not allowed to be tapped ‘Lai slightly' more. If one can reach, bring wine to drink.” Their happiness knows no bounds.

  Tapping dance developed towards the choreography direction with the value of stage to appreciate, but it was when Qing Dynasty crumbled that it had appreciating value on stage. Zuo Xinquan introduced: “Now, tapping dance has evolved into a collective performances in anniversary celebrations, many folk artists have refined this folk entertainment activity as a festive performances.”

  The carnival held up by 27 generation descendants 

  The tide of history rolls forward, Tongcheng Tapping Dance quietly takes root and sprouts in folk environment, its growth is inseparable from the care of the local artistic, among which there was an old man named Hu Ruiqing who had dedicated for tapping dance during his lifetime. Born in 1930, he came from a poor family. At the age of six, his family began to let him learn bamboo knitting. He had been energetic since he was a child, and was keen on folk art, outside the learning hours, he acknowledged Li Fenglin, Zuo Xueying and several other singing masters as his teachers, learning to sing Tiqin Drama and the tune of beating a gong .Usually, Hu Ruiqing with the master was singing in the Grass Stage class, and during the leisure time, he would follow his masters to learn the tapping dance as entertainment.

  In the 1940s of last century, the action of tapping dance was very monotonous. While collecting movement vocabulary of patting dance, Hu Ruiqing would process and refine the action, making the patting action richer. In order to make the rhythm of tapping dance be characterized by the beauty of rhythm and stage, he joined the music to design the style and clothing of tapping dance, and organize rehearsals for the family and troupes, every festive they went to the big occasions to show performances, since then, tapping dance turned from the countryside entertainment to dance, and boarded the stage.

  In 1988, according to Tongcheng folk tapping dance, the “Tapping Song” was produced and performed, it won the Gold Award of Hubei Province of the First Folk Music and Dance Delevision Contest.

  “Hu Ruiqing died in late 1980s of last century. Tapping dance now is spread to Chen Tianshui, the 27th generation. Chen Tianshui also comes from singing the Flower drum opera and Tiqin Drama, and he has acquired a relative comprehensive set of tapping dance from Hu Ruiqing. Now, the other folk artists cannot be compared with his tapping dance which has a primitive taste.” Zuo Xinquan said.

  However, it is regrettable that with the rapid development of modern science and technology, people now have more and more entertainments, while the audience of local theater is less and less, the enthusiasm of the young generation inheriting the tapping dance is declining. With old artists who have won the essence of tapping dance passing away, the heritage of the patting dance lacks of core and backbone power, as a result, the tapping dance will be gradually lost. “In order to survive, many folk artists have left home and work in unfamiliar places, the successor of tapping dance Chen Tianshui has worked in Zhejiang for a few years and has never returned home. Without special funding, professional and fixed talents passing on this legacy, the succession of patting dance is into great difficulties.”

  Born in folk custom and brought up there

  Zuo Xinquan said, “Tapping dance is characterized with mass, folk-custom, and public welfare since it’s born, unlike some folk arts that have male-female class limit. With a profound base of masses, it is easy to understand and to learn, which is suitable for large-scale promotion among the masses. Tongcheng cultural centers not only seriously organize resources survey on patting dance, but also actively organize, explore, innovate and rehearse tapping dance, trying best to make tapping dance show its face in the party of a variety of sizes, promoting the popularity of tapping dance by means of performing. However, patting dance belongs to public culture, having input without output, the inheritance and development still need support from the government.”

  In 2008, Tongcheng County cultural center arranged two sessions of training classes for tapping dance, aiming at the centralized training of each township, cultural station cadres and tapping dance lovers of Tongcheng. It received good results. Now, some schools of Tongcheng County have set up tapping dance lessons, and there are people in the community keeping fit by tapping dance.

  Tapping dance, born in folk custom and brought up there, may it live forever.


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