Chinese Ribbon Dance


Background: The Chinese Ribbon Dance is a traditional dance that has been performed for more than a 1000 years.  The Chinese legend has it that Emperor Tang who ruled China from 713-755 AD had a dream that he was in the moon palace with many fairies singing and dancing who were wearing beautiful multicolored long robes.  His dream was turned into a dance with the dancers using long silk ribbons.  Each year the Ribbon Dance is performed at New Year celebrations and harvest festivals. 

Grade Level: K-5

Music:  Bu Bu Jiao Track 8  on the CD titled  Christy Lane's Multicultural Folk Dance Vol 1.  or traditional Chinese instrumental music is appropriate.

Movements:  Walking, Running, Skipping, Galloping, Turning,

Equipment: Three foot red paper or plastic streamers or a long red ribbon, one or two for each child. The streamers or ribbons can be attached to an empty paper towel tube or just held in the hand.  Include a poster or chart paper listing the seven movements, Circles overhead, circles in the front of the body, circles on the side of the body,Snakes horizontal or vertical in front or on the side of the body (small curvy movements), Turns, Letters of the name, and Figure 8 vertical and horizontal

Formation: Multiple lines or random in personal space

Description:

Organize the students with 2-3 feet of space between them so they have room to move the streamers.

Teach the following movements using one streamer held in each hand or two streamers held in one hand, or one streamer held in one hand.

Circles:     Circle the streamer in front of the body in a clockwise direction, circle the streamer in front of the body in a counterclockwise direction.  Practice with right and left hands.
                       Circle the streamer in to the right side of the body in a clockwise direction, then in a counterclockwise direction.  Practice with right hand on the right side and left hand on the left                             side.
                        Circle the streamer in over head in a clockwise direction, circle the streamer overhead in a counterclockwise direction.  Practice with right and left hands.

Snakes:    Wave the streamer at chest level from left to right and right to left.  Make the snake waves small and quick or large and quick. Practice with right and left hands.
                        Wave the streamer starting high above the head down to the floor. Make the snake waves small and quick or large and quick. Practice with right and left hands.

Turns:       Wave the streamer high and low or circle the streamer while turning to the right or left.  Practice with right and left hands.

The Roll:   Make quick small circles in front of the body.  The streamers will look like it is spiraling. Practice with right and left hands.

Figure 8:   Move the streamer in a figure 8 pathway in front of the body.  This is like a sideways number 8.  Practice with right and left hands.
                        Move the streamer in a figure 8 pathway in front of the body.  This is like an upright number 8.  Practice with right and left hands.
                        Move the streamer in a figure 8 pathway over the head, also try to the side of the body.  Practice with right and left hands.

Letters:     Move the streamer in the pathway of a letter.  This is like drawing letters in the air and the streamer is the crayon.  Try  letters in  students names.

Travel:      Move the streamer using the circles, the snake,, the figure 8 or the letters while walking, running, skipping, leaping or galloping .

Develop a sequence of the movements for the students to follow as individuals.  For example:

Organize students into partners or small groups of three. Ask students to choose three or four movements they have learned and create their own Chinese Ribbon Dance.

Or students can create small group dances using the following choreographic structure:

Part 1: Entrance from a corner of the room to the center using a locomotor movement, a way to move the streamer and a formation.  The group decides and performs in unison.

Part 2: Center Circle Dance.  the group forms a circle in the middle of the space and creates a sequence of two different movements with the streamer.  The group can decide on the number of repetitions.
Part 3: Exit the space to return to the starting corner.  The group can use the same movements as the entrance or use different locomotor movements and a way to move the streamer.
Part 4.:  End shape.  After the group returns to their corner they make a still group shape that has a minimum of two levels.

After each group has composed and practiced their dances. Each group can present their dance to the other groups.  The teacher can number the order of the groups performance.