World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


YaoYong Dance

: Folk
: Ken Yang
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2008

YaoYong Dance school is headed by Master Teacher Yong Yao, former lecturer at Beijing Dance Academy. The school offers dance curriculum to about 250 students, ages five to adult, and seeks to introduce the public to the beautiful art of Chinese dancing.



TITLE: Big River
: Jenny Fong, Kelly Ju, Jessica Lee, Grace Lin, Susan Lin, Christina Liou, Cindy Tang, Lanjun Wang, Pearl Wang, Alyssandra Wu, Allison Yu, Davina Ziegele

The Big River ripples, wide and uncontrolled
The gentle breeze carries the fragrance of rice crops along the riverbank

My home is by the river

Everyday, the familiar sound of the ships’ horns blowing in the air
Everyday, the familiar sight of white sails moving across the river

China's many rivers are at the heart of its civilization and culture. The Big River is a celebratory dance—celebrating the vibrant communities along the river, and honoring the river as a source of life and sustenance. The dance also celebrates the symbolic river of history and culture flowing from China through the Chinese diaspora. The dancers' costumes reflect practical farmer's clothing, and the brilliant red marks a time for festivity, good luck, and joy—as well as contrast, energy, and passion. The gold symbolizes firecrackers, and the peony is a harbinger of spring.

The Big River integrates two unique elements of the playful and deliberate yang-ge dance style—with movements and steps inspired by farmers along the Yangtze and Huanghe Rivers. It also honors three natures of the river: calm, rippling, and wild.

Jiaozhou yang-ge originated in the Shang Dong province, which lies in the lower reaches of the Huanghe (Yellow) River. The dancers exhibit inner strength and extension, and close "V" pattern footwork. Flowing silk fans represent the river in its calm and static state. The song, Big River, describes the beautiful countryside of northern China, and praises the people for working hard.

Dongbei yang-ge originated in northeastern China, where winters are extremely cold. The footwork is swift and clean, and the body movement is also crisp. The dancers' handkerchiefs evoke the warm days of spring when water ripples easily along, with pleasant splashes from rocks and animals. The music is a contemporary version of a folk song from the northern Shang Xie province.

The red ribbon dance celebrates the river in its fearsome mode, as it floods and fertilizes the land. The red ribbons represent the rising water—powerful and destructive. Where there is water, there is life


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