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Title: The dance of revolution : yangge in Beijing in the early 1950s
Authors: Hung, Chang-Tai
Keywords: Yangge
Chinese Communist Party
Polical propaganda
Issue Date: Mar-2005
Citation: The China quarterly, no. 181, 2005, p. 82-99
Abstract: Yangge is a popular rural dance in north China. In the Yan’an era (1936–47) the Chinese Communist Party used the art form as a political tool to influence people’s thinking and to disseminate socialist images. During the early years of the People’s Republic of China, the Communists introduced a simpler form of yangge in the cities. In three major yangge musicals performed in Beijing, the Party attempted to construct “a narrative history through rhythmic movements” in an effort to weave the developments of the Party’s history into a coherent success story, affirming various themes: the support of the people, the valour of the Red Army, the wise leadership of the Party and the country’s bright future. However, urban yangge’s simplicity as an art form, the professionalization of art troupes, the nation’s increasing exposure to a variety of alternative dance forms and, worse still, stifling government control all contributed to the rapid decline of this art form in urban China.
Rights: © Cambridge University Press 2005. This paper was published in China Quarterly, v. 181, 2005, p. 82-99 and is reprinted with permission.
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