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Chinese Dance

Dancing is a visual form of communication. Dancers use movements to convey meaning and messages to the audience. Chinese dances have its own unique vocabulary, semantics, and syntactic structure that allows a dancer to express his or her thoughts and feelings with ease and grace.

Neolithic Yangshao culture developed group dances way back in the fourth millennium BC, which shows how of yore Chinese dances are. During the Shang and Chou periods in the first millennium BC, Chinese dances were divided into civilian and military types. In civilian dancers, feather banners were used, symbolizing the distribution of fruits of the day's hunting or fishing. Military dances, on the other hand, showed dancers carrying weapons and moving forward and backward in motion. Chinese used hand and body movements to express their reverence for the spirits of heaven and earth, to act out manners of daily life, and to unfurl the motions of joy and delight. Dance not only regaled the performers, but also the audience.

Aboriginal dances also prevail in Taiwan. Each tribe has its own folk dance that reflects its lifestyle and custom and as part of China's cultural heritage.

The art of dancing is well-developed in Taiwan. Young people are getting involved in dance classes, starting off with ballet and modern dance, and later experimenting with traditional Chinese dances. From there, they exploit other options, playing around with style and body expression, thus reconstructing the traditional Chinese movements and form.

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