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Chinese Dance Culture Series (11): Ethnic Drums in Exotic China

Venue Date & Time Price
Cultural Activities Hall, Tuen Mun Town Hall

This Chinese Dance Culture Series, Ethnic Drums in Exotic China, explores the provenance of drums and dance today by tracing it back to its primitive, mystical origins.  The drum was not only a prop or a percussive instrument, but carried wider meanings than itself in terms of functions.  We will take a look at the amazing role of drums in dance through eight talks and workshops under four themes: Drumming for Blessings, The Rhythmic Drum, The Calling Drum and Drum Beats, Heart Beats.


Ethnic Drums in Exotic China will be richly supplemented by pictorial illustrations, texts, dance demonstrations, and video shows. Participants will learn the choreographed movements of percussive drumming under the instruction of the speaker.  The contents include: material used for drums; forms and shapes of drums; drum dance as an art form, its evolution, and the development of styles.  The purpose of the series is to enhance understanding of the history and vernacular culture of the various ethnic groups through drum dance, for a better grasp of the expression of the mood, feelings and meanings behind the movements.

(Conducted in Cantonese)


Drums to Invoke Blessings (Copper Drums of the Miao’s) on 7 and 14 May

In Miao culture, the drum is the spirit of the ancestors and the gods. It forms the core of rituals, music and dance in ancestral worship activities.

Drums to Invoke Blessings will take the origin of the copper drum as the point of departure, and go on to discuss the patterns carved on the drumhead – what they represent and how the culture has spread – to the legacy of Miao song and dance. The outstanding features of Miao dance are illustrated with the percussive beats on the copper drum.


The Rhythmic Drum (Janggo of the Korean Ethnic Group) on 21 and 28 May

The Janggo is a traditional musical instrument used for accompaniment in the Korean tradition. As a prop in a dance, it is also aesthetically impressive. The Janggo Dance blends dance and drum music together, and is the most recognizable folk dance for the Joseon era.

In The Rhythmic Drum, the structure and performing practice of the Janggo will be introduced, with an emphasis on the different rhythms and measures. The talk will cover the application of rhythm to dance, the performing features of rhythmic movements and verve, understanding the character of the dance etc..


The Calling Drum (Dagu of the yangge dance of northeastern China) on 4 and 18 June

The rhythmic yet coordinated movements of gait-and-footwork in the yangge dance of northeastern China are richly varied.  Basically they are the formation and patterning of the mass dance, while individual dancers would show dance movements of torso swing, bent knees and arm movements.  Among them, the guxiang is the externalization of internal thoughts of the characters, with different characters expressed in different drum beats.  Hence the ‘calling drum’.

In this talk, the typical drum beats of the ‘Calling Drum’ will be introduced one by one to allow for understanding of the different features to enable vivid portrayals of the characters in the yangge dance.


* Participants are advised to bring two octagonal swirl cloths or handkerchiefs for Chinese dance.  


Drum Beats, Heart Beats (The ‘Flower Drum Lantern Dance’ and percussive dance of Anhui ) on 26 June and 2 July

There is a Chinese saying about the ‘Flower Drum Lantern Dance’ of Anhui that “when the gongs and drums sound, one’s feet become itchy”. As the traditional accompanying instrument for this type of dance, the gongs and drums are also the soul of the entire performance, controlling the dancers’ movements and moods, conveying the emotions of the characters, etc.

In this talk, the percussive points of the ‘Flower Drum Lantern Dance’ will be introduced. The variety of patterns dictates the expressions through movements.


* Participants are advised to bring one folding fan and one octagonal swirl cloth or handkerchief.


Points to note:

Participants are advised to wear a loose-fitting suit of top and pants and soft shoes.

Those attending the June 4th and 18th workshops should bring with them two octagonal swirl cloths or handkerchiefs for Chinese dance.

Those attending the June 25th and July 2nd workshops should bring one folding fan and one octagonal swirl cloth or handkerchief.

The Speaker

Chung Ching has been teaching dance for twenty years. She holds an M.Lit degree in Dance History from the Chinese National Academy of Art and an MA degree in Cultural Studies from the Lingnan University.  She is currently an Examiner (Dance) of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, a member of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Arts Administrators Association, Director of the Hong Kong Performing Arts Center, and founder of the Hong Kong Contemporary Youth Dancers. Over the years, she has been invited to give talks on Chinese dance culture and dance workshops.


Since 1995, Chung has been a lecturer and instructor of dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and other higher institutes. She was also invited to be an adjudicator in dance competitions all over Hong Kong, and has represented Hong Kong on touring performances of dance in the United States, the U.K. etc..



Tickets will be available from 7 April  onwards at all UERBTIX outlets, on Internet and by Credit Card Telephone Booking.


Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities, full-time students and recipients of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). (Limited tickets for full-time students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis.)


Concessionary ticket holders must produce evidence of their identity or age upon admission


Group Booking Discount

10% off for purchase of all 8 talks and workshops at regular price tickets


Patrons could enjoy only one of the above discount schemes for each ticket, please inform the box office staff at the time of purchase

Partrons aged 6 and above are welcome



Programme Enquiries: 2268 7323

Ticketing Enquiries: 2734 9009

Credit Card Telephone Booking: 2111 5999

Internet Booking: www.urbtix.hk


Participants are strongly advised to arrive punctually

Participants are advised to wear a loose-fitting suit of top and pants and soft shoes

The contents of this programme do not represent the views of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department

The presenter reserves the right to substitute artists and change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary



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