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The Construction of “Traditional”: Imaginative Reshaping of Chinese Classical Dance in an International Context



Tian Tian, 田湉

Chinese Classical Dance has been developing for more than 60 years. This art form, which represents China to the world, is typically considered a national symbol. The author once taught Chinese Classical Dance courses and rehearsals as a visiting scholar at Cincinnati University in the United States. During this visit, she used her own experience and introspection to create two dance pieces.

This paper discusses the imaginative reshaping of Chinese Classical Dance in an international context. The author highlights the importance of reshaping Chinese Classical Dance, as it is a kind of cultural salute to traditional Chinese culture, and is on the verge of being lost as an art form. Additionally, Chinese Classical Dance is not only an artistic container for the ancient and profound Chinese culture and civilization, but also is seen as an timeless, utopian world that has long provided China with a sense of spiritual care for all of humanity.

This paper covers these key areas: firstly, the author’s thoughts on why Chinese Classical Dance needs to be reshaped, according to her American students’ perspectives on Chinese Classical Dance; secondly, during the rehearsals of the dance pieces named Chiaroscuro and Coexistence, the author considers how Chinese Classical Dance could be represented in an international context; thirdly, reflections on how to achieve the imaginative reshaping of Chinese Classical Dance; and lastly, conclusions regarding the physical practice of Chinese Classical Dance, as well as common human spiritual values and introspection that can be found in Chinese Classical Dance. This article includes video materials of the choreography of Chinese Classical Dance.




Tian Tian


1 Beijing Dance Academy, China

1 McNiff, S.(2015). A China Focus on the Arts and Human Understanding, Creative Arts Education and Therapy: Frontiers in China-- An International Academic Journal for Research and Practice, (1) 1, 7-135.

2 Tian, T.(2013), Investigation on the Form of Liyuan Dance of ‘Han Tang Yue Fu’ of Taiwan, Journal of Beijing Dance Academy, (3 )36.

3 Zhang, J.(2010), Re-discussion on Aesthetic Formation [C].// Xiao Mu, Zhang Wei, Wei Ershen, Collected Papers of the The Seventh National Conference on Aesthetics: Sixty Years of Aesthetics of New China, Beijing: Culture and Arts Publishing House, 2010: 240


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