People all over the world love to watch individuals or groups perform on the stage, and this has made a dance be a famous activity in the world. Moreover, institutions have opened dance classes in almost every corner of the city. The future generation will benefit from the dance because of its rich and stable history. Similarly, different kinds of dance evolve as time moves. Precisely, Ballet is a type of dance that has its origin in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century (Minden 26). Despite the changes that ballet dance has undergone, it is still rooted in the vocabulary of movement that uses the French language. Most dance techniques in the Western world can be traced back to ballet since the dance has been influential. Classical Chinese dance is a refined and expressive type of dance that uses the bearing, form, and technical skills to portray the inner feelings, the peculiarity of the human nature, moral concepts and thoughts. Training plays an essential role in perfecting the moves portrayed by dancers. Similarly, in classical Chinese dance, performers have to master the dance-acting element. In this paper, we shall analyze the similarities and differences between ballet and classical Chinese dance.
Regarding the similarities, both ballet and classical Chinese dance rely on the emotions of the dancers to convey the message. Each of these dance styles uses body movements to tell the story. Artists in both types of dances focus on maintaining society’s moral standards. They expressed beautiful themes by emphasizing on virtues such as wisdom, sincerity, respect, etiquette and loyalty. In the case of ballet, dancers convey the message through pantomiming. Similarly, with the classical Chinese dance the body movements express a variety of feelings (Hongzhi 1). For instance, in the video, the dancer expressed the feeling of sorrow through various body movements. The dance shows the language of the body. In order to tell the story to the fullest, the dancer had to extend and spread the body to the fullest.
Second, both dances entail the use of strong techniques. The high techniques used by dancers are strengthening, disciplined and stylized. In the ballet dance video, the dancer showed techniques by emphasizing form, extension, and lightness in the body. Moreover, there was much concentration on balancing and coordination of the body (Wozniak n.p.). The dancer’s movements were specific to the slow tempo of the music. You could see the dancer stepping up and down then turns. With the classical Chinese dance, the dancer integrated the movement of the body with the inner bearing. Besides, the meaning of the dance drives the body of the dancer into motion. Third, both ballet and classical Chinese dance show similarity in physicality. Both dancers are slim and incredibly fit. They all exhibit inhuman flexibility and muscle control.
The differences between the two forms of dance include the following. First, ballet dance is linear. The dancer emphasizes on linear and distinct movements (Minden 27). Moreover, in the video, the body of the dancer built one line. The movement was like in one swing. On the other hand, in the classical Chinese dance, movements are round and continuous. There are no pauses. Similarly, in the classical Chinese video, you could notice that circularity was the basic attribute of the dancer’s movements. The movements of the dancer were small hand gestures. You could see the dancer making a grand open spin of her entire body. The dancer’s movements resembled a bow ribbon whereby to go forward; her movement starts backward. Similarly, when the dancer wants to go left, she goes right first.
Second, the movements of the female dancers on the stage differ between the two types of dance. It was easy to spot how the dancers moved across the stage because of their footwork. In ballet, the female dancer moved on pointe with the legs straight extending to the tips of the toes (Wozniak n.p.). Similarly, the female dancer moved in dramatic strides that emphasized openness. Conversely, in the classical Chinese dance, the movements of the female dancer were on rapid heel-to-toe-mini-step. In the video, you could see that the dancer was gliding on the floor. There was no much walking. Moreover, the dancer made quick and smooth movements, and one might think that she was floating on a cloud.
Third, ballet and classical Chinese dance differ in the way they incorporated techniques. When watching the two dances, you could often notice the range and degree of difficulty portrayed in classical Chinese dance. Moreover, the classical Chinese dance has difficult movements such as flips, leaps, tumbling and jumps. For instance, the two dances performed spins differently. In ballet, the dancer performs spins vertically (Hongzhi 1). In the video, the dancer’s body was on a perfectly perpendicular axis while performing the spin. Conversely, in classical Chinese dance, spins take place from multiple angles. In the video, you could see the dancer leaning forward, tilting upwards and backward (“Moon Light”). Moreover, the dancer sometimes held one leg above her head. It was thrilling watching the young woman perform a classical Chinese dance.
In conclusion, despite the differences that exist between ballet and classical Chinese dance, the two types of dance portray the ability to tell stories and move the audience through the beauty of art. Classical Chinese dance is an expressive type of dance that uses the bearing, form, and technical skills to portray the inner feelings, the peculiarity of the human nature, moral concepts and thoughts. The dance acts as a carrier of traditional concepts and values. Conversely, ballet has its origin in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century. The characteristics of the dance include a standard vocabulary of graceful movements, steps, and poses. Moreover, ballet dance is a success in the dancing industry since it is the backbone of many dancing techniques in the world. Both classical Chinese dance and ballet use strong techniques during the performance. Both dancers keep their bodies strong and agile. The differences portrayed by the two dance types include the way dancers incorporate techniques. Similarly, the difference exists in the female footwork. The movement on ballet is on pointe while classical Chinese dance uses rapid heel-to-toe mini steps. Lastly, ballet uses linear and distinct movements while classical Chinese dance uses continuous and round movements. Watching people perform classical Chinese dance and ballet is a breathtaking and beautiful experience.
Hongzhi, Li. What is classical Chinese dance? July 5, 2013. Online. < https://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/news/view/article/e/Q6sayPy28ic/what-is-classical-chinese-dance-by-li-hongzhi.html>
Minden, Eliza Gaynor. The ballet companion: a dancer’s guide to the technique, traditions, and joys of ballet. Simon and Schuster, 2007.
Moon Light. Classical Chinese dance-solo. YouTube video. November 19, 2015. Online. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CmKpAt4Eb0>
Wozniak, Slawomir. Gisele Bethea-Bridesmaid variation. YouTube video. February 9, 2014. Online. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apywUNjoau4>
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