Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Arts, Design and Contemporary Education (ICADCE 2022)

Analysis on the Application of Technical Skills in the Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”
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Dunhuang dance art appeared in the 1990s, such as the 1979 dance drama “Silk Road” as a representative, it revitalized Dunhuang dance that had been dormant for many years, opened up a new dance culture, and restored ancient Chinese history, so that Chinese painting art has been inherited in the form of dance. Dunhuang frescoes move to the art stage in the form of dance. Its superb acting skills have won praise, and it has crossed the north and south of the river to the world. Therefore, it is necessary to study on how to strengthen the training of three-bend and multi-bend movements in order to master the key points of Dunhuang dance techniques and form a unique and characteristic dance art.


The dance drama “Silk Road”, through the stunning and beautiful Dunhuang dance, expresses the joys and sorrows of the protagonist painter Zhang and his daughter Yingniang, and the ill-fated story, and also shows the pure and touching story between Chinese and foreign friends. The “Silk Road” created by the Dunhuang Art Theater in Gansu used the static beauty of the Dunhuang Grottoes murals, used its advantages, and collected its essence, and there was a great dance drama “Silk Road”. It was praised by the local media as “a very fresh and vibrant Dunhuang mural, an art culture full of wonderful aesthetic experience” [1]. From Dunhuang static frescoes to dynamic dances, a new art form was created. “Silk Road” was a sensation at that time, and it was also very popular later [2]. In a sense, “Silk Road” has a great historical significance in the process of Chinese dance drama, brought a wide range of social effects, and led the development trend of Chinese dance drama. It has caused a sensation in China, and wherever it goes is unprecedented. It once went out of the country, and then entered more than 20 countries and regions. It has a high reputation in the world and is called “the characteristic of oriental art”. It is the foundation stone of Chinese dance drama. “Silk Road” describes the living conditions of the local people, and tells the story of Ying Niang, the painter and the Persian merchants. It is divided into six historical dance dramas, depicting the story of what happened on the Silk Road: by chance, painter Zhang and his daughter Ying Niang met a Persian businessman who had passed out on the side of the road and rescued him. But an accident happened on the way, Ying Niang was robbed by robbers, after a few years, Yingniang became a dancer, and the Persian merchants redeemed Ying Niang in order to repay the painter Zhang. In the Mogao Grottoes, the painter Zhang Wei painted a mural for Ying Niang. After seeing it, Shi Cao wanted to take Ying Niang as his own. In desperation, Ying Niang fled with the Persian merchants. Shi Cao tried to kill them, and the painter set fire for help, and then Ying Niang was rescued, but the painter himself died.


3.1. Rotation Skills in Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”

The spinning skills in the Dunhuang dance drama “Silk Road” are well reflected in the play, which is also a state of perfection in the performance art of “Silk Road” [3]. The first factor of rotation skills is firstly reflected in “standing”: the “standing” on the toes is the most important part of the rotation. Most of the rotation is to “stand” upward with one foot as the center of gravity. The toes should be kept as “stand” as possible, and the body should be tightened, so that the foot can stand more stable on the ground. The second factor is reflected in the “open”: in the process of rotation, the “open” degree from the hip to the knee to the ankle is an important factor in mastering the success of the dance. The dancers' skills are in place, which is inseparable from the usual dance skills, and the hero and heroine's skills have reached a perfect state. The third factor is reflected in “straightness”: the use of this technique is based on the premise that this factor must be understood. The knees and back must be kept upright. If they can't stand upright, their backs are hunched, it's difficult to spin, and their center of gravity would be unstable. The fourth factor is reflected in the “dizzy problem”: the “dizzy problem” is effectively solved in the process of rotation. The way to do this is to move the whole body first, while leaving the head and eyes behind so that the eyes can see. Until the head and the body are in the process of maximizing the separation, it is also when the body turns the second circle, so that the head is turned faster than the body rotation speed, not free. In this case, the occurrence of dizziness during the rotation can be effectively avoided. The rotation movements in solo dance, duet dance and multi-person dance are well done, effectively solving the problem of “dizziness”. The fifth factor is reflected in “squatting”: when starting the movements, “squatting” is to make the rotation find a good center of gravity, keep a good distance between the two feet, the center of gravity must sink first, and secondly, the body cannot deviate and cannot be tilted, so “squatting” is also a very important factor. Only when the posture and movements of “squatting” are mastered can the preparation for the rotation be prepared, and the rotation can be done with ease.

3.2. Jumping Skills in Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”

The jumping skills in “Silk Road” are a form of human action language. Jumping skills are a link in the dance work connection combination, which can play a very good technical effect. Jumping skills are widely used in Dunhuang dance. It is a common skill movement. The dance posture is fixed at the moment in the process of leaping in the air, which is used to shape the character image of Nryana. Because the jumping skill has the characteristic of suddenness, it is an instant action, and it needs to be fixed in the air before the expression of the action can be clearly seen [4]. Therefore, it is used to shape the image of brave characters and express their omnipotent spirit, and the effect is very good. However, in “Silk Road”, the jumping skills also shaped the dance image of Ji Lotian, which is reflected in the cheerful and enthusiastic scenes of music and dance.

3.3. Turning Skills in Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”

Turning over is used as a connecting action in Dunhuang dance, which plays a role in causing the following plot. In dance dramas, it is mainly used to create superb techniques. For example, in “Silk Road”, Ji Lotian's graceful movement of waving a silk ribbon is used to express the artistic image of the flying people in the murals. In the process of fluttering clothes and ribbons flying all over the sky, the technique of turning over effectively uses ribbons, flying costumes, and background elements to enter a dream-like world, showing an ethereal, detached and magical scene, which brings people to a mysterious mood far away from the mundane [5].


4.1. Application of Jumping, Turning, Flipping and Controlling in Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”

In the dance process, the operation of jumping, turning, flipping and controlling technical skills comes from the inspiration of Dunhuang frescoes. Even though the dance in the mural is in a static state, the movement contained in it is obvious. The dancers try to fly and jump, and they can show the demeanor, movements and priorities of the dance. The director gave full play to his imagination and successfully demonstrated the technical skills of mid jete, turning, flipping and controlling in “Silk Road”. In the first performance of Ying Niang's busking dance, the theme of the work is realized through the way of solo dance, using the movements of crossing legs and rebounding the pipa. In the second solo dance, the dance is completed in repetition and change, plus a series of movement combinations, using the dance skills of plucking strings, brisk and jumping footwork, as well as rotating, turning over, and controlling various forms of movement. The interpretation has created the stage image of the flexible, simple and innocent protagonist Ying Niang. In the final stage of the dance, the continuous movement skills of jumping, flipping and turning over are used as a foreshadowing to attract the attention of the audience.

4.2. Application of Technical Skills in the Creation of Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”

The stage creation elements of “Silk Road” were very attentive, challenging the mainstream ideological and aesthetic forms at that time, not in line with the artistic development trend at that time, and showing the technical performance of innovation. In terms of the plot, on the basis of the original plot and characters, the stage effects are highlighted, and a unique atmosphere is created to make the plot development feel immersive; in terms of music, the Dunhuang music system has been integrated to increase the artistic appeal; in terms of costumes, it has broken new ground and opened up a new path. Through the color, image and style of costumes, it highlights the elegant elements of the dance drama. In the play, the storyline of yearning for peace and advocating friendship is well reflected, expressing the traditional Chinese people's love for peace and advocating freedom. The plot is fixed on the ancient Silk Road, the historical background of Sino-foreign exchanges, reflecting the ideal of world harmony [6]. In addition, “Silk Road” is based on Dunhuang murals and contains a profound national cultural tone, especially the dance drama is described with Buddhism as the main art form. The dance features in the plot come from the static Dunhuang fresco art. The actors worked very hard to restore the static dance movements in the Dunhuang frescoes and turned them into dynamic dance movements, which can be said to be very difficult.

4.3. Application of Emotional Expression Techniques in Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”

The emotional factor has been highly artistically embodied in “Silk Road”. The role of emotion in technical skills is not optional, but it plays a role in guiding the meaning of the mind and the main purpose of the soul. Many dances have reached the limit for the challenge and admiration of technical skills, but some ignore expression of emotions. Dances with different emotions require different technical skills, so it is necessary to understand the relationship between emotions and technical skills to complete the unity of body and emotion. In the creation process of dance drama, the use of technical skills is integrated with the inner feelings of dance, so that it is harmonious, unified and conforms to the rules of creation. Therefore, the use of emotions plays a very important role in the grasp of skills. The aesthetic characteristics of Dunhuang dance are in line with the aesthetic characteristics of traditional Chinese Confucian culture. It is dominated by shyness, gentleness and honesty, and the dance form is graceful and soft, expressing the mysterious and beautiful realm of Buddha's paradise. The Dunhuang dance shows the beauty of life in a peaceful and beautiful state [7]. In the expression of skills, it is not ostentatious or intense, so that skills and movements are full of such emotional tone, and the soft, solemn and solemn emotional tone can be reflected in the technical skills. The emotions of the people are revealed in the technical skills, so that everyone can grasp the veins and clues of the emotions.


The dance drama “Silk Road” cannot be denied its status in the history of contemporary dance. It is an extension and inheritance of the cultural context of Dunhuang murals. It reflects the artistic form of Dunhuang dance by telling Dunhuang stories. It draws inspiration from Dunhuang frescoes and introduced dance dramas, which plays an important role in promoting traditional Chinese culture. It successfully creates an artistic model of Dunhuang dance and presented the beauty of Dunhuang dance. At that time, the creation of dance dramas had a pioneering power and achieved an eternal position in the history of dance drama creation. It focused its profound vision on the historical context, combined historical culture with dance, and created a dance concept with Dunhuang cultural flavor. This is a great change and innovation in the field of Chinese culture and art [8]. In recent years, with the opening of the “the Belt and Road” Silk Road Economic Belt, the research on Dunhuang culture and art has become the main development situation. As one of the important works of Dunhuang dance, “Silk Road” pays more attention to it. Therefore, the exploration of the technical skills in “Silk Road” has become the main subject of the study of Dunhuang dance, and has become a realistic need for Dunhuang dance to move towards a sustainable development path.


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Cite This Article

AU  - Yanchi Zhou
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/11/21
TI  - Analysis on the Application of Technical Skills in the Dunhuang Dance Drama “Silk Road”
BT  - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Arts, Design and Contemporary Education (ICADCE 2022)
PB  - Athena Publishing
SP  - 49
EP  - 52
SN  - 2949-8937
UR  -
DO  -
ID  - Zhou2022
ER  -