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Global Perspectives

Arts and entertainment: Chinese dance drama

December 11, 2019

Introduction: As writing instructors in UWRF’s English Language Transition (ELT) Program one of our missions is to involve English learning students in campus activities while strengthening their knowledge of English. We could think of no better way to do this than to have them publish an article in the Student Voice. What you are about to read is the final product of several sessions of brainstorming and writing followed by consultations with native speakers including some from the TESOL program and the Student Voice. — Kiki Augustin (ESL 211 Intermediate Writing) and Alex Hatheway (MODL 310 Advanced Composition)

Recently, The Eternal Wave, a famous Chinese dance drama which is produced by Shanghai Dance Theatre had won the highest award in Chinese performance industry. The dance drama is based on a real historical story about the Chinese revolutionary martyr Li Bai.

In 1940s, on the eve of liberation, Chinese Communist Party’s underground workers had to disguise themselves to send confidential information because of the Kuomintang governing.

The piece shows the audience that it was the revolutionary martyrs’ firm belief and selfless sacrifices that led liberation to success, making people honoring thousands of heroes and revolutionary martyrs appeared at that time. It’s a beautiful masterpiece combining modern dance, classical dance, tango and etc. 

The drama not only expressed the beauty of dance like the neat rows of action and the contrast between different scenes, but it also shows urban elements, including the famous Shiku Gate, lanes and alleys, newspaper office and Cheongsam tailor shop, which perfectly presents every detail at that generation. Without a word, dancers show the personalities of their characters by the movements. 

The drama is a good choice if you want to learn Chinese history and admire Chinese dance. You can find the video of The Eternal Wave on YouTube.