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Question about arms in Corsaire

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In the 17th century, there are engravings of dancers doing a "Danse Chinois" with highly stylized makeup and index fingers pointed upward.
fascinating! really?! i too wonder where this oddity came from - it never seemed an oddity when i was a child - one 'knew', that that sort of carry-on, onstage, meant that a dance was 'chinese' - but as an adult, one really wonders! :shrug:
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A Chinese company visited DC about 15 years ago -- I believe it was the Central Ballet of China, but I dont remember, unfortunately. They did a 20th century Chinese ballet, based on a Chinese folk tale, and there was a dance in which.....drum roll, please......a man came out and positioned his arms at his side, with hands raised, one finger pointed. As he danced, his head -- wearing the "traditional" hat -- bobbed back and forth. He could have been doing the Chinese dance from "Far From Denmark" or "Nutcracker."

After the performance one of my colleagues went back stage and asked if it was a traditional dance or taken from Western sources and was assured that it was an ancient, traditional Chinese dance. That may or may not be true, but there's one anecdote to support the traditional theory.

I hadn't thought about the pointed finger being related to the long fingernails of the mandarins, Mel, but I like the thought :) I read a quote once that I'm sure you've heard too: "We let others do our dancing for us." (from the Wit and Wisdom of the Mandarins, or something like that)

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