Chinese Yangko Dance

Chinese Yangko Dance


The Yangko dance, also called "twisting Yangko dance", is a folk dance most representative in China and a unique collective singing and dancing art. The Yangko dance is smooth, happy and compact in rhythm. Thanks to its jolly scene, abundant dance language, exuberant gestures, and vivid performing style, it is always favored by the Chinese people.

The Yangko dance originated from the labor activities of rice seedlings transplant and farmland plough, and is concerned with songs used to worship god of farming to pray for harvest in ancient times. By absorbing continuously techniques and forms from farming songs, folk songs, folk Kungfu, acrobatics and dramas during the development course, it has been developed from an ordinary singing Yangko to a kind of folk song and dance. Until the Qing Dynasty, "the Yangko dance" had been popular around the whole country. To identify different kinds of Yangko dances, the name of the region or the feature of the dance is often added ahead, for instance, "Drum Yangko dance" (Shandong), "Shanbei Yangko dance", "field Yangko dance" (Hebei, Beijing and Liaoning), "Manchu Yangko dance" and "stilt Yangko dance", to name just a few.

The Yangko dance is not only a performing art, but also a self-amusement activity. People will organize Yangko dance matches and performances spontaneously whenever there is a grand festival. Yangko dancers' dresses, most of which are drama dresses, are rich and flamboyant in color. You can, judging by the dress, recognize the roles, such as Tang Priest, Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Friar Sand in Journey to the West, and Bei Niangzi (Madam White) and Xu Xian in White Snake. These roles play trippingly in the happy melody made by the gong, drum, Cha (small cymbals) and Suona. Among all dances, such dances as stilt trample (Caigaoqiao), dragon dance (Wulong), lion dance (Wushi) and land boat dance (Pao Hanchuan) are vivid, skilled, beautiful and most famous, and, therefore, they are very popular with the common people.