Chinese Fan Dance Steps

By James Dryden

The Chinese fan dance is performed in celebration of Chinese culture. It represents beauty, grace and delicacy, according to the Chinese Educational Development Project (http://www.cedp.org.uk}. It also expresses feelings of joy. The dance is composed of consistently changing rhythms paired with consistently changing body positions. Feather fans and silk fans both are part of the traditional Chinese dance that has its roots in the Han Dynasty, circa 206 BC.

To Begin

Get fans made of feathers or silk and hold them in each hand while standing. With your arms held out to each side, begin fluttering the fans while raising them above your head and lowering to the side. This step may be repeated throughout the choreography by facing different directions or including walking steps. As the choreography varies, the specific techniques of opening, closing and fluttering the fans remain.

Rhythmic Changes

After lowering the arms while fluttering the fans, bring your arms in front of you (as if you are reaching for something). With a count of 8, open and close the fans by turning your wrists in and out. Repeat for another count of 8. Continue by tilting your upper body to one side while raising one arm overhead while the other arm is out to the side. Remember to keep fluttering the fans throughout all the arm and torso position changes. Lower arms back to the start position with arms to the side.

Positions of Power

Bend your knees, moving up and down, while fans are held close together and arms are outstretched in front of you. You'll turn your torso to the right and left (see Fun Dance Workshop at dancemedia.com). Raise your arms abruptly overhead while crossing one fan in front of the other. Hold this position for a few seconds as this pose represents power. The dance will either continue with new positions or repeat the positions introduced earlier.

About the Author

After graduating with a journalism degree from Emerson College in 1989, James Dryden went to work immediately in the publishing industry, first as a type-setter then as a copy editor, layout artist, writer, photographer and proofreader.