I think I could fill this thread with seventeen pages of clips of enchanting not-ballet.
Okay, go for it, but it has to be really Enchanting !
The Han Tang Yuefu Music and Dance Ensemble is a very good start. Thank you! I’ve watched a large number of videos of dance from China, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. It’s something that I’ve been searching for. It’s absolutely lovely and certainly worth appreciating for its subtle detail (“To my western-trained eyes, it looked like a style entirely grounded in subtle micro-adjustments of the head, hands, and posture.” — Kathleen). These dances certainly show a refinement worthy of the ‘high art’ status that other forms, such as ballet, command. I believe that the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD) was considered possibly the high point in Chinese artistic culture and dance in particular, although I’ve read that singing was always combined and dance was not considered separately.
Kathleen, thanks very much for the videos. The last group does indeed show the use of the lower body (in particular the end of videos 1 and 2 and the beginning of video 3). At first glance I actually prefer seeing the dancers in bluejeans. It’s more interesting. Also for a culture that’s seems sexually conservative, I’ve hardly ever seen bare legs in a dance, these dances, in their subtle way, can get pretty sensual.
I hardly know a thing about Baroque dance, so maybe someone could get into this a little more. I believe that choreographers, like George Balanchine, understand these kinds of dance quite well.
Diane, I’m 100% with you in wishing to see dance as healthy a pursuit as possible. Dance would seen like a natural for promoting good health and I can’t see any reason why the choreography couldn’t be brilliant. Perhaps you could mention some examples of this. Fred Astaire? Savion Glover claims that he can tap-dance for hours and not even get a blister. Certainly worth thinking about.
I’m also a big fan of the idea of letting dancers, from little children beginners to adult professionals, choreograph for themselves and contribute as much as possible to the creation of a work. I know very little about formal dance technique, but I’d love to float ideas to dancers and let them create from this. I’m sure we all would.