Kiki @ Tribal Fest 7 (Chinese Water Sleeve Dance, sorta)

   Sat, May 26, 2007 - 2:58 PM
Kiki has done it again. I do so love the sound of the guzheng ( ) -- so much so that I've been working on a new piece for il Troubadore where I mimic the style and sound on cello. It's going to require some scordatura ( ) as I need more of an open sound with the unfingered strings to allow more overtone resonance. I've also had to do some of this for an Duduk (an Armenian Ney--and check this site: ) song I've adapted so that the low C string on my cello is even lower to play what's normally played by the drone Duduk.

Anyway, Kiki's performance at Tribal Fest 7:

Chinese water sleeve dance is supposed to imitate the movement of water. In Chinese Opera the sleeves are often about the length (on both male and female charater roles) that Kiki has them on her costumes. As a stand alone dance form the sleeves can be considerably longer (e.g. watch this video: ).

In Chinese Opera, each sleeve movement (as I've noted elsewhere, there are literally over a hundred specific hsiu ("sleeve movements") described by A.C. Scott that are used in in any one particular style of Chinese Opera: ) has a specific meaning that contributes to the overall narrative (just as jeeb in Thai Classical Dance and hastamudra in Indian Classical Dance).

Mass audiences in the US probably had their first intro to this dance style through Yimou Zhang's film, Shí miàn mái fú "Ambush from ten directions" (known to English speaking audiences as "House of Flying Daggers"). Ziyi Zhang dances (and "sings") during an early scene (see image above) in water sleeve dance style with some more modern balletic nuances (and yeah, il Troubadore does cover Jia Ren Qu "The Beauty Song" )

Here's the scene from the movie:

and a short blurb (with subtitles) of Ziyi Zhang's impressions:

I'm really looking forward to more of Kiki's work!

(photo credit: still of Ziyi Zhang dancing in water sleeve dance style during "The Beauty Song" from the film Shí miàn mái fú directed by Yimou Zhang.)


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Mon, May 28, 2007 - 5:43 AM
I love chinese movies like this
I enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Hero, House of the Flying Dragons (especially ziyi's dance stuff and her blind character!) and The Curse of the Golden Flower. You'd never recogize Chow Yun Fat ( I know i butchered his spelling so I apologize). The scenery is always beautiful, and the music is mesmerizing. There is a lady in town (Louisville) who plays the guzheng, her name is Lillian and I've reached her once and recommended she play for a theme event at a local hotel and they loved her! I'll keep an eye out for her and see when she might play again.
Wed, May 30, 2007 - 10:56 AM
Oh--please do keep an eye out for her for me, Letha! Thanks! I might be taking erhu lessons from someone in the Detroit area. That's going to be sweet!

And yeah--I grew up watching Chinese movies--love them, and love how much the MK movies have taken from classical Chinese Opera and dance!