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Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show

Tang dynasty show in XianThe Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, a wonderful performance of the ancient music and dance, is a must when you visit Xian. The city, formerly known as Chang'an, has a very long history, and was the imperial capital during 13 dynastic periods. Among them, the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.- 907 A.D.) that enjoyed fame throughout the history reveals prosperity and brilliance of Chinese civilization. "Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show" is one of the symbols of its culture when the dynasty was at the pinnacle of power and splendor.

As an art form,Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show has its roots in folk fetes, when dances were first performed by people as part of rituals of prayer for a good harvest or a better life. Over thousands of years, the dances developed from a few simple postures or gestures to become delicate and artistic reaching a peak during the Tang Dynasty. Unlike some other regimes, the Tang was open to outside influences and was willing to take in the best of various art forms of not only the past dynasties but also the ethnic groups in the northwestern China as well as central and western Asia. Thus a wide range of unusual oriental musical instruments, many techniques such as painting, sculpting, pattern and costume design, cuisine and dining etiquette, singing and dancing was accepted by the Chinese, paving the way for the kind of entertainment that is now the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show.

By combining poetry with the skilled playing of musical instruments, singing, dancing and also stunning costumes, the modern presentation of Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is certain to give you an impressive view of ancient China including its splendid history, brilliant arts, distinct traditions and customs.

Tang Music

The musical instruments played in accompaniment encompassed those of the Central Plains area and of the Western Regions. The music itself is in three main parts and comprises 36 segments. The first part consists of instrument solos, or qing, xiao, zheng and flute ensembles. In the second part, slow-tempo, lyric melodies are sung and danced to. The third part comprises both slow and up-tempo dances.

Two Categories of Tang Dance

Dances in the Tang Dynasty fell into the two categories of martial and civil, and were also known as "gentle" and "vigorous" dances. As their names suggest, the "civil dance" was soft and graceful, while the "martial dance" was vigorous and bold.

Development of Civil DanceTang dynasty show in Xian with colourful dresses

In the following decades, this civil dance advocated by Emperor Taizong gained popularity and reached its zenith in the early 8th century, the reign of Emperor Xuanzong. Both Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Yang Yuhuan had a deep love of music and dance. The Rainbow Skirt and Feathered Coat was a romantic, enchanting dance personally choreographed by Li Longji for Yang Yuhuan. He combined emotional mortal love with the magical beauty of the fairy world, rendering a perfect blend of reality and fantasy.

Creation of Modern Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show

Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show presented today is a recreation of a traditional entertainment attributable to a great variety of historical records and relics. In 1981, the artists of Xian's Shaanxi Provincial Song & Dance Troupe, inspired by the thriving tourist industry, conceived a series of programs to illustrate on stage the history, culture and artistic heritage of Xian. At that time, the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, as a comprehensive form of art being lost in admiration, promptly came into the sight of the artists.

In order to embody the characteristics of the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show accurately, the artists spent much time reading relevant books, historical records and monographs on the entertainments enjoyed by the royal court. They also set about learning traditional arts from folk artists and consulted experts on certain issues. With the written materials as a basis, they then visited many historical sites such as Dunhuang, Yungang and Longmen as these were a great source of contemporary visual information due to the presence of frescoes, carvings and sculptures.

More than a year was spent on preparation and using a visualization of the imperial court as its setting, the production was an integration of a series of successive programs of music, singing and dancing, manifesting a unique classical style and features typical of Xian. The specific work of composing and choreographing had been started in June of 1982 and through the joint efforts of many artists, the debut of the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show on October 1st in that year proved to be a great success and was highly praised by a delegation from UNESCO.


Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show Tour

The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show has now become a classic entertainment that has been warmly appreciated by audiences running into hundreds of thousands for more than twenty years. The production has toured many cities in China as well as numerous foreign countries such as Japan, Russia, Korea, Singapore, Norway, Denmark, etc.