Blue Ming Chinese Dance Company - Classical and Folk dance for all occasions
The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie.
— Agnes de Mille

Blue Ming Chinese Dance Company

We are a group of women who share a passion for Chinese classical and folk dance. Our goals are to stay fit, meet new friends, and have fun while promoting the art of Chinese dance.

With a mission to promote Chinese dance among peoples of different cultures, Blue Ming is dedicated to showcasing a variety of traditional and ethnic Chinese dances. We have been invited to perform in various community cultural programs, trade conferences, and charitable fund raising events. The San Diego Opera, San Diego Symphony, US Marine Corps, USS Midway Museum, San Diego schools, local retirement communities, Mingei International Museum, Hotel Del Coronado, and Los Angeles malls, conferences, and trade shows are a few of our most recent audiences. We have been invited to dance at the Nations of San Diego International Dance Festival every year since our inception. Our performances are also a nice addition to private parties, helping to create a unique and memorable experience.

Blue Ming believes in a high standard of showmanship. We are eager to adapt our choreography to fit your occasion. Our ability and willingness to remain original while going that extra mile have won us an enviable reputation among both audiences and performers.

To book a performance for your next event, please contact our director.

Home Base    San Diego, California
Dancers          1 to 15, depending on the program. 
Programs       Our repertoire includes classical and folk dances of China's various ethic groups.

Recorded music can be provided on CD or USB flash drive or via download from our website. Each dance is introduced by one of our dancers, discussing the dance’s story, its cultural significance and historical roots, the costumes, and the music.

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Repertoire

The dances described below represent the core of our repertoire. However, we are constantly working on new dances. So check back from time to time to see what we’re up to.


The Beauties of the Warring State

Choreographer: Ying Sun
Performers: the ensemble (number varies)
Music: Chinese strings and woodwinds
Duration: 7 minutes

This dance is based on a Chinese historical legend over 2000 years old. The Emperor of Chu, in the era of the Warring States under the Han Dynasty, loved women with slim waists. His taste for beauty created a national fixation at the time. In order to be qualified for selection by the royal family, or even just to hope to win the affection of men, many Chinese ladies went on starvation diets. Ironically, these women had to remain strong both emotionally and physically as they lived in wartime. When there was a shortage of male soldiers, women were the next in line to be sent to the battlefield.

Some of the dance moves reflect their muscular physique and horseback riding skills. The tall feathers represent their prestigious social status, and the long and wide sleeves were the fashion at that time.

 
 

Beautiful Rice

Choreographer: Yumei Lu - Guangdong Dance Academy, China
Performers: the ensemble (number varies)
Music: Samingad - Taiwanese aboriginal
Duration: 7 minutes

In 1949 the Communist army, led by Mao Zedong, took over Mainland China. The Nationalist Party, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan. Many families were forced to separate as a result. For the following five decades, there was no communication between the people who lived on opposite sides of the Taiwan Strait. Generations growing up in these two political states were told many falsehoods about other side. From time to time there were battles between their two armies. This history has had a lasting impact and has formed many biases for Chinese people on each side.

Samingad, a singer and song writer who is well loved among the Taiwanese, but known only to a few in Mainland China, was born in 1971 to a native minority called the Puyuma tribe located in the East of Taiwan. Most of her songs are written in her native language; however, listeners are often deeply touched and moved by her songs without translation. Beautiful Rice is a good example of her work.

In 1954 the Taiwan government sent all their young men to fight in an armed conflict against the Mainland Chinese army. Back at home the fall season had brought a great harvest of rice. The women, who were left to take care of the family farms, had to do all the work in the rice fields. The song says, “We wish you were here to smell the fragrant rice grains, to share the joy of the harvest, we miss you so much that we will soon go to the mountains to find hardwood trees to build strong boats to bring you home”. The choreography of the dance expresses the touching emotions of the song and portrays the hard work of harvesting the rice. The costume is designed to closely resemble the farmers’ clothes in that region. Scarecrows can be seen in a few places in the dance.

The majority of the dancers in Blue Ming are from Mainland China with only one from Taiwan. Through this dance, we grew closer. We hope through our performances, we can bring San Diego Chinese communities originating from both states closer.

 
 

Red Ribbon Fan Dance - Snow and Fire

Choreographer: Blue Ming Chinese Dance Company
Performers: the ensemble (number varies)
Music: traditional Chinese
Duration: 5 minutes

This is a Blue Ming original creation, inspired by the traditional Chinese ribbon dance of Northern China.

Snow on Lunar New Year to a Chinese is like a White Christmas to someone from the West. On New Year’s Day, three sisters, holding red lanterns, are walking down the snow-covered street to gather wood and build a campfire.  But it is a very cold morning; they go back inside the house to warm up their hands. One of the sisters loves to play in the snow and comes out alone. She takes out a small mirror, fixes her hair and touches up her makeup, getting ready for the village New Year party. She finds a lantern covered by the snow. She picks it up, shakes off the snow, and tries to find its owner. When she realizes that it belongs to the young man next door, whom she has a crush on, she quickly covers her face and runs back to the house. The other sisters open the door and they come out to build a campfire and have a party with all their friends.

 
 

Ji Chu

Choreographer: Lu Hui and Gao Yan
Performers: the ensemble (number varies)
Music: modern, dramatic
Duration: 7 minutes

Ji Chu is a popular folk dance seen during wartime about 2500 years ago. The word “Chu” is the name of one of the warlord states. The word“Ji ” defines the dance style that is energetic, with dramatic body movements, quick steps, and fast turns. During that period of time, fierce battles were fought between different states and these conflicts lasted for decades. Many men were killed in the battlefields and many women and children died from illness or starvation. Yet the people of Chu continued their love for music and dance. They used dance to express their struggle and their pain, and they used dance to pray to their god for peace and a harmonious life.

The masks worn by the dancers show that people lived in fear and darkness. The tall feathers the lead dancer wears indicate she is the communicator, an incarnation of a phoenix reborn from flames of war, existing between the ordinary people and the spiritual world. The women dance around her, and after they are enlightened, their masks are taken off. A new life begins. The long sleeves and loose cut of the long skirts were typical of outfits for women at that time. The vibrant red color of the dancers represents strength and their strong desire for a better life. The dancers move in circular patterns because, when originally performed, they were surrounded by the audience rather then being on a proscenium stage.

With this dance we strive to bring to light the relentless efforts in pursuit of a better life and happiness with a touch of Chinese ancient history.

 
 

A Flower for My Hair

Choreographer: Chinese Dongfang Performing Art Troupe
Performers: the ensemble (number varies)
Music: Chinese folk
Duration: 7 minutes

The Chinese folk song, Jasmine, is a multi-generation hit, one of the most popular songs in China for the last 100 years.

The lyrics tell of a young lady’s irresistible desire to pick a jasmine flower and pin it in her hair. However her fear of being ridiculed by others as well as the thought of possibly damaging the delicate plant makes her hesitate.

The dance is choreographed to reflect how a single seed breaks through the ground in the spring and grows into a jasmine plant. After the summer rain, one flower after another, the entire garden blooms with the fragrant jasmine.

 
 

Deep In the Night

Choreographer: Shanghai Opera and Dance Academy
Performers: the ensemble (number varies)
Music: from Beijing Opera “Farewell My Concubine”
Duration: 5 minutes

Beijing Opera presents dramatic plays by blending four artistic elements: singing, dialogue, dancing and the martial arts. Water sleeves in traditional Chinese opera costumes were used to express a character’s various emotions. It takes a great deal of practice to master the various ways of handling the slippery sleeves, which are almost two yards long.

Deep in the Night is a dance about the romance of a Han Dynasty lord named Xiang Yu and his favorite concubine Yu.  When Lord Xiang was completely defeated after decades of hard battles, Yu performed what would be her last dance for him. At the end she took his sword and slit her own throat. Her suicide was to ensure that Lord Xiang would not jeopardize his escape by attempting to bring her.

 
 

Half Pot of Silky Tea

Choreographer: Blue Ming, inspired by Sun Ke
Performers: solo
Music: Chinese folk song, sung by Keyi Liu
Duration: 4 minutes

Han people from central China have deep roots in Taoist and Confucius philosophies. A peaceful and quite life style is widely admired.  Tea is a key element of this culture. This dance is inspired by a poem picturing a romantic but heart-broken young girl, who is determined to abandon her old world and become a Zen practitioner.

Now she lives in a temple and paints, writes, sings, and sips tea everyday. She hopes that her ex-lover understands her journey to the Zen sprit.  You will see right away the contrast in choreography and music between the two dances. Several Chinese traditional music instruments comprise the soundtrack. But the voice is actually from a modern pop singer.  Let’s see how the artists blend old and new together.

 
 

Come Dance With Me

Choreographer: unknown
Performers: solo
Music: Uyghur folk song
Duration: 4 minutes

The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. They are one of the 55 Chinese ethnic minorities.

They are predominately Muslim, and many physically look more Russian then Chinese. Surrounded by grape farms and lambs on a plateau of rich soil, these people love singing and dancing and living a cheerful life. Located far away from central China, with little influence from Confucius feudalism teachings, young people openly express their passionate love and romance.  This is an entirely different custom from that practiced in most other parts of China and most Islamic countries.

This solo dance tells a story that a young lady falls in love with a neighboring apple seller. In her dance, she expresses her romantic feeling and invites the young man to dance with her. This dance gives a glimpse of this subculture, the fresh air of the free spirit, and the fire of life.

 
 

The Drum Dance of the Han Dynasty

Choreographer: Ying Sun
Performers: the ensemble (number varies)
Music: Chinese strings and woodwinds
Duration: 7 minutes

This dance was originally a folk dance form in the Han Dynasty, over 2000 years ago. For a long time, this kind of drum dance was very popular among the ordinary people. It was used to celebrate local events and harvests in the villages and towns. Later, it was adopted by professional performers who added more techniques and brought it into the palaces. Eventually, It became a special form of entertainment to the emperors.  You will notice that the dancers’ bodies often titled to one side or the other. They keep jumping up and down, front and back, and around the drum, while beating the drums by their feet.

The costumes, including the hair style, used by Blue Ming are very close reproductions of the Han and Tang Dynasty women’s fashion. The music’s lyrics are based on an ancient Chinese poem. It is said that one day, when Confucius was out on an expedition collecting poems from across the land, he overheard a young lady singing a beautiful yet sad song on the top of a city wall…

My heart is as gloomy as your black shirt.

Why don’t I hear from you when I need to be with you the most?

My thoughts are as soft as your silk belt.

Why aren’t you coming to me when I am confined to my dwelling?

Here I stand on the wall longing for you far away.

One day feels like months when you are not with me.

This poem can be found in Confucius’ poem collection. The ensemble sings this beautiful love song while dancing on the drums.

 
 

Dancers

Join

If you enjoy dancing and wish to share the art, culture, and joy of Chinese classical and folk dancing then we are interested in you. Some of our members are students from the local high schools and universities. Others are career women and stay-at-home moms. But we all share one thing: we love to dance.

You don’t need to have a background in dance or any experience dancing. And you don’t need to be Chinese! You just have to love to dance (and love to go out for Chinese food sometimes). We typically meet for practice once a week for two hours and sometimes more frequently leading up to a big performance. After administrative fees, proceeds from our dance performances are equitably distributed among our members.

Even if you are only curious, we invite you to contact us. We hope you’ll come to one of our practice sessions and get hooked!

P.S. It’s a proven fact that dance is a perfect workout form that promotes health and happiness, a great way to stay in shape and boost vitality!

Contact

If you are interesting in having us perform at your next event, or are thinking of joining us and maybe sitting in on our next practice, or are just curious about Chinese dance and have a question, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you!

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