As I have already mentioned in the previous post, my love for Asia’s music began through movies and dance. Namely Korean traditional dance. Or cinematographic reinterpretation of traditional dance.
What struck me from the very beginning was not only the grace. Delicate hand movements meant to express as much as a story would. There was also the perfect balance. Dancers exhale perfect control of the breath, of the body, of their own selves and of the viewer. Every single movement calculated and executed at a very precise moment, no sooner or later. The steps barely touching the ground, the props used as an extension of the body and the floating of the body around its own axis or jerky floating above the ground (trust me, it IS possible) fascinate me beyond words.
The same precision, balance, control is felt throughout more complicated performances – drum dances, fan dances or sword dances and so on and so forth. I am not sure if I am utterly amazed by the synchronization in the dancing groups or if I expect it in a certain degree.
Drum Dance: Korean Drum Dance By The Little Angles of Korea
Sword Dance: Korean traditional court dance mu go and geum mu 무고 검무 합설 (I recommend paying extra attention to the dancers in the middle. They are performing 검무 – geommu – the sword dance. I never cease to get amazed by the way the swords are handled!) Am I totally wrong to consider these dances a good competition even to modern world ballet?
I am less familiar with Japanese traditional dance, but I am impressed by the skill, the strength and the stamina needed in Taiko dance – Japanese drum dance. It is so much more than rhythm, synchronization and skill. It is really manly.
Taiko Drummers: A divine force unleashed?
Another performance: Taiko drummers in Barcelona
One more complex performance: A breathtaking Japanese drum line
China… China is for me the symbol of fine art carved into human bodies. I am not sure about the traditional character of the dances I have seen, but each and every one made my jaw drop.
Here – an example: Jade Porcelain Dance
Add some hearing impaired dancers and you have: Thousand Hands Guan Yin ( Goddess of Mercy ) – in other versions, Buddha– incredible performance, perfection!
I am well aware that there are other fabulous traditional dances in other countries (Indian dances are also impressive). But I decided to stick to what I know better.
Here you have a playlist with the videos chosen for this post and a few more: