Stilt dancing is an ancient cultural tradition for some nations. Now we perceive this dance as a beautiful performance. But for countries such as Spain, China, and Africa, it means a lot more. For all these countries, the birth of such a tradition occurred at completely different times. The very first mentions dancing on stilts appeared in China and Africa long before our era.
This dance is most significant in the formation of historical and cultural potential. Along with other traditions, dance on stilts has been preserved in our time and demonstrates the national heritage of each of the countries where it can rightfully be considered a valuable heritage.
At NS dancing, our students learn dance styles combined with immersion into the culture of the homeland of this dance. This allows you to fully understand the meaning and to better understand both the individual movements and the dance as a whole. And now let’s take a closer look at the history and features of the dance on stilts and how it differs in different countries.
North China and its tradition
Dance on stilts is especially popular in this part of China. According to legend, the dance originated in the 8th century BC. At this time, a foreign ambassador arrived in China who mocked the local population because of his small stature. To get out of the situation, Ambassador Yan In decided to tie high stilts to his feet. And since then, dancing on stilts has become a beautiful tradition of many Chinese holidays.
In China, dance on stilts can be divided into two styles: soft and gallant. Soft style can be performed by people of all ages, as it eliminates dangerous elements. A valiant style is suitable only for professionals with excellent training. Unlike a clear suit in Spain, in the Chinese version, there are no rules. Basically, it is just bright traditional clothing, characteristic of the individual people of each territory.
In China, dance on stilts can be divided into two styles: soft and gallant. Soft style can be performed by people of all ages, as it eliminates dangerous elements. A valiant style is suitable only for professionals with excellent training. By the way, one of the brightest dance performances on stilts by Chinese artists was held at the 2008 Winter Olympics.
Moko Jumbie in Africa
That is how the stilt dance calls the African population. In Africa, the appearance of dance on stilts is associated with West African traditions and the god Mocha. The term “jumbie” expresses in its sense of spirit or ghost.
Speaking of costumes, it is necessary to focus on a complex hat, carved in the style of “Admiral”. In addition, the hat is made not of textile fabrics, but of wild cucumber plants, which is found everywhere here. The main costume is made of scrap materials, remnants of fabrics and bright patches.
In Africa, moko jumbie stilt dancers perform a dance among the people, in a crowd for gifts or coins. Usually, moving through the streets, dancers collect money from balconies.
The origin of dance on stilts in Anguiano
The medieval town of Anguiano is considered the birthplace of Spanish dance on stilts. The earliest references to it are in written sources from the beginning of the 17th century. According to one version, the dance was invented on the basis of pagan rituals. It was performed by ordinary peasants who hoped to get a good harvest. However, some scholars of historians claim that stilts were a means of transportation through impassable swamps, which ultimately gave rise to such an amazing dance.
In any case, the suit plays a special role. For Spanish dancers, this is necessarily a white shirt and long colored velvet pants. Also, an important detail of the costume is a colorful vest of seven colors and a yellow fluffy skirt, which is surrounded by belts in the form of dark ribbons.
During the performance, there is a person who reads funny poems next to the Spanish stilt dancers. Also, as a rule, artists are accompanied by so-called helpers who help the dancers move around in a noisy crowd. After all, the dance involves constant circling, tricks and dancers can easily lose balance. And assistance in this matter is very useful.
On the very first and last day of holidays, artists perform the most dangerous performances with a variety of dangerous elements. But it is these performances that collect the largest number of spectators, and especially visiting tourists.
As you can see, dancing on stilts in all countries is the personification of the national wealth. Local peoples put their soul into it and give it a lot of sense. In each country, different dance events have an interesting story and a deep idea. For example, for European countries and the United States – this is the ball of debutants. By the way, about it, you can here you can learn a lot of interesting things about such a tradition here you can learn a lot of interesting things here.
Dancing on stilts is a truly colorful show! If you at least once in your life manage to see it with your own eyes, you will be incredibly impressed.