Lions and Peacocks and Snakes - Oh My!
Created by Lili Teng
Genre and Content
Learn How To Fringe
Seat Reservations and Show Tickets
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Cast and Crew
The heart of dance, the soul of China. CAAM Chinese Dance Theater (CDT) is a non-profit performing arts and dance academy dedicated to preserving and celebrating Chinese cultural heritage. Every year we connect with more than 10,000 audience members and nearly 200 dancers bringing the best of Chinese dance to the Upper Midwest region. Based in St. Paul, but performing in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota and beyond, all ages can experience and enjoy the diversity of Chinese dance.
Chinese dance arts celebrates centuries old movement forms from the imperial court to the countryside, derived from 56 ethnic cultures of China (including the majority Han culture). CAAM CDT embraces it all, in its wide array of variations, not just the ever popular dragon and lion dance. For example Han dance includes not only dances featuring agility and flexibility derived from imperial court dances but also high jumps and fast turns inspired by imperial martial arts forms (from which modern day acrobatics and gymnastics were inspired!). These two divergent traditions result in innumerable movement combinations but when you add props such as fans, ribbons, long sleeves, and spears, the artistic dance palate becomes extremely colorful.
Other Chinese ethnic dance traditions with their own distinct dance moves add an entirely new dimension to Chinese dance. (5-7 of these groups traditions are often part of CAAM CDT’s repertoire). Not all, but many are inspired by the animals and environment of these ethnic group’s home lands. For example Mongolian dance (northern China) features high jumps, fast turns and long loose hair inspired by galloping horses across vast grasslands, while Dai dance (southwestern China) imitates graceful elongated torso and arm movements of peacocks and egrets.
Chinese dance requires not only core and leg/feet strength for vertical turns and jumps (barre/floor work is extensive) but also all-out flexibility and suppleness (back/arms/leg stretches are also part of basic training). Not just lower body movement, turns and jumps are essential part of the art form but also extensive and varied upper body movements and combinations such as a wave created from fingertips to fingertips across the arms and back or circular turns (spins) with arms fully extended in multiple planes (leaning back and forward) or figure eight motions (moving right/left and backward/forward simultaneously). Jumps and turns include not only feet outstretched but also with twists in various planes or arching to allow feet to touch the back of the dancer’s head.
Annual Lunar New Year’s Production, summer camps, workshops or residencies, school outreachs, and community performances like Family Fringe are all part of CAAM Chinese Dance Theater's work. A Family Fringe performance is a wonderful way to feel the beating heart of CAAM Chinese Dance for the first time or a lifetime.
For video highlights of some of the dances in this Family Fringe show from a prior show at CAAM Chinese Dance Theater go to Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_6DCvIunhY
To enjoy an overview of CAAM Chinese Dance Theater's varied styles and performances go to this Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sThX6B1zjX4&t=49s