Tag Archives | Dance

Celebrate the New Year like a Lion

The Chinese New Year lion dance is one of the most exhilarating ways to celebrate the holiday. 
Chinese New Year–often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is “lunisolar”–is the most important holiday in China. It’s a two week long celebration marked by gift-giving, food-sharing, firecracker-cracking and much joyful celebration. The festival traditionally takes place at the end of winter and marks not only a start of a new year, but the impending coming of spring. The festival is full of jubilant dancing, often performed in the streets by trained dancers in colorful costumes. For example, as you see in this video, in the Chinese New Year lion dance, two performers hidden inside the brightly-colored costume of a lion perform a choreographed, martial arts-like series of steps.

Basic Bhangra

Bhangra dancing is pure joy.

The exuberant form of folk music and accompanying acrobatic dance is electric blend of old and new. Based on traditional folk songs of Punjab, a region that straddles the Pakistan/India border, bhangra became an international phenomenon when South Asian immigrants in the United Kingdom infused it with Western musics like electronica and pop. Watch this video, or, heck, any bhangra video worth its salt, and if you’re not up out of your seat and dancing…well, maybe you’re not worth your salt.


Will the Real Amagunjju Please Stand Up?

I think I know your favorite Ugandan dance . . . . .

Earlier this week we learned about the Amagunjju, an exuberant royal court dance from Uganda. I hope you all danced with me, and didn’t mind looking ridiculous. The dancers in this video look anything but ridiculous dancing the Amagunjju. If you’re going to dance the Amagunjju around your house, don’t worry if you dance like me. On the other hand, if you dance it for the king of Uganda, you’d better know how to strut your stuff.

A Ugandan Dance to Please the Infant King

When we visit Uganda we must try this Ugandan royal dance….

This week in class we dance the exciting Ugandan royal dance called the Amagunjju. Once upon a time the Kabaka (King) of the Obutiko (“mushroom”) clan of the Baganda died and didn’t leave an heir. He did, however, leave many pregnant wives. Medicine men declared that one wife was carrying the Kabaka-to-be. She sat on the throne with the idea that her unborn baby was truly ruling Buganda. When the boy was born, his uncle Gunjju created a dance meant to keep him constantly happy . . . a crying king brings bad luck!