Students from the Beijing Dance Academy performing Ta Ge

From Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia by Katherine Mezur and Emily Wilcox, Editors

  • Asian Studies
  • Theater and Performance
  • Dance
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  • The opening scene provides credits in Chinese. A strumming of music begins, and the view shows a large empty performance stage. Twelve women in long green and white dresses with flowing sleeves enter the stage from either side. They take large steps and swing their hips as they walk, tossing their long sleeves out horizontally after every few steps. They turn and lean back, tossing their sleeves into the air. Then, they face forward in rows. The dancers take steps to alternating sides while dipping down and lowering and raising their sleeves in front of their bodies. Their heads tilt and hips sway with each change of weight. The music includes a chorus of women singing. As the dancers tilt their heads, they lift one elbow into the air in the direction they are tilting, as if resting their cheeks on their wrists. At the same time, the opposite had moves up to the shoulder. The dancers change formations and break into smaller groups while repeating variations on these basic movements. As the dance progresses, the movements become more varied and animated, with shoulders tossing along with sleeves, heads, and hips. The entire dance is shot from a distance to show the full choreography.