Fred Astaire Dance Studios is hopping into the Chinese New Year by showcasing the important role dancing plays in Chinese culture.
Chinese New Year started in the 14th century to worship the gods and celebrate the harvest. Often called the Spring Festival, the 16-day celebration kicks off on January 22 and ends with a Lantern Festival on February 5. To celebrate the occasion, the government gives Chinese citizens the first week of Chinese New Year off work in order to visit family.
The Chinese New Year marks the transition of the zodiac signs. The zodiac is steeped in Chinese tradition and is part of the country’s folklore. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, which symbolizes longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture, and it’s predicted to be a year of hope. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are recognized as being confident, strong, goal-oriented, and social.
As part of the new year’s celebration, people wear red and give gifts of money in red envelopes. They share meals featuring traditional cuisines such as fish, dumplings, sweet rice balls, and longevity noodles, which are cooked in broth and accompanied by vegetables and protein.
Iconic Chinese Dance Traditions
Dancing plays an important part in Chinese New Year’s festivities. During the Lantern Festival, people hang lanterns and attend parades. The Chinese Lion Dance is an iconic symbol of the season. Performed for good luck, the dance relies on intricate moves to bring an elaborate lion costume to life. The style of the dance differs, depending on the region where it is performed. As part of the Southern Lion Dance, the performers mimic the lion’s cat-like behavior, and the Northern Lion Dance relies on martial arts techniques.
Dragon dances to ward off evil spirits are also common sights during the new year’s festivities. A line of dancers helps the dragon move in traditional patterns. Other dances featuring acrobatics, ribbons, and martial arts are hallmarks of Chinese culture.
Take a look at a few videos of traditional Chinese dances.
The Lion Dance is accompanied by beating drums, gongs, and cymbals. Here’s a performance featuring elaborate costumes and traditional movements.
The island nation of Singapore features a wide variety of Asian cultures and has a rich Chinese heritage. In this clip, children are treated to a traditional Dragon Dance at the Singapore Zoo’s Night Safari.
In this clip, a trio of dancers performs a traditional Chinese ribbon dance.
Learn to Dance at FADS
Ballroom dancing has a rich history in Chinese culture, and partner dancing dates to the Han Dynasty in the 4th century. Many ballroom dances have withstood the test of time.
At Fred Astaire Dance Studios, our instructors teach international and American styles of dance. We help students appreciate the cultural value of dance by learning to tango, swing, and waltz. Learning ballroom dance is a fun, social activity with numerous health benefits.
To learn more about the group and private classes offered at FADS, contact your local Fred Astaire Dance Studios location to sign up for a dance lesson.