Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dancing and Flower Arrangement

Readers gave me feedback that it was interesting to compare a dancing posture with flower arrangement. That reminds me another topic related with dancing. In my view, there are lots of similarities between ballet and western style flower arrangement or between Chinese dancing and oriental flower arrangement, there are also differences between the two groups.

In CCTV’s 2007 Chinese New Year party show (the most popular TV program in China, literally say, every Chinese watches it), there was a dancing program called “Pine, bamboo and Plum (岁寒三友 - 松竹梅)”. It was very abstract, poem like, and beautifully done. It consisted three pieces of dancing.

The first piece, pine, was danced by famous ballet dancer Yuanyuan Tan (谭元元) who is the leading dancer at San Francisco Ballet. Her job was using ballet to annotation pine. In nature, pine’s characters are most commonly described as tall and straight (挺拔). In ballet dancing, dancer’s straight back, extended arms and figures and the lifted toes give viewer exactly this feeling. In Chinese cultural, pine is always companied with crane. Yuanyuan Tan was just like a graceful crane dancing among the pines. Which spelled out “pine and crane for longevity (松鹤延年)”, a Chinese idiom.

Plum was the second piece of dancing by Yan Liu (刘岩). Her dynamic Chinese dancing expressed the characters of Chinese plum tree, to bloom in the cold winter to signal that the spring is coming.

The third piece is bamboo by Liping Yang (杨丽萍) who is a very famous dancer from Bai nation (白族). Especially I liked the beginning, her body was swaying from side to side and lifted up, that movement gave the feeling of young bamboo came out of the ground, it was full of life. I almost heard the sound of bamboo growing.

If you haven’t watched the dancing program, you have to watch it. Here is the URL:

In the classical western style flower arrangement, the flowers are arranged in the way to straightly extended. That gives similar feeling like the ballet postures.

On the other hand, in oriental style flower arrangements, it is seldom to use straight lines, even arranging pine, the pine branch would be bind to get nice curve before inserted. All branches and flowers are talking and communicating to each other.

Enjoy the flower arrangement picture and Happy Monday!

In Friendship with Flowers,


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