Creative Factors and Ethnic-folk Dance: A Case Study of the Peacock Dance in China (1949-2013)

  • Author / Creator
    You, Jiaying
  • My dissertation topic focuses on the interaction between dances, their contexts and their meanings. I am interested in a wide range of creative factors that are involved in the dance-context interaction. I chose to investigate these factors by looking at the Peacock Dance, which originates in the Dai culture. I chose write about eleven case studies and focuses on four different creative factors that have changed the peacock dance in diverse situations - individual, community, nationality, and state. Creative factors are the factors that actively influence the form/context/meaning of an ethnic-folk dance in certain ways. I name these factors as “creative factors” because they influence the creation of new characteristics of the ethnic-folk dances. Various factors can influence change in ethnic-folk dances, and the creative factors; individual, community, nationality, and state, are only four of them. Change in ethnic-folk dance usually happens under the influence of one or all four creative factors though each factor may be more or less active. I presented case studies to demonstrate how the peacock dance from the Dai ethnic group has been changed by four creative factors. For my purposes, because of the absence of earlier detailed information, I understand that there is no original peacock dance to make comparisons in an absolute sense. I consider Dance #1, the peacock dance by Mao Xiang around 1949, as the “original” peacock dance in my dissertation. Various peacock dances were directly or indirectly developed from this original dance as time went on. If we considered this original peacock dance as a mother, at least four generations of peacock dance (the other ten pieces of peacock dance) have been born into this family. The comparisons have shown that all the eleven peacock dances are related to each other, but none of them is the same as the original, and the same as any other one. The peacock dance is only one example of how an ethnic-folk dance can be changed by creative factors. These four creative factors are also only some of many potential creative factors that could influence an ethnic-folk dance. In some contexts, an ethnic-folk dance could be changed for small reasons. In the first chapter of the dissertation, I have provided a brief introduction of my dissertation. I have introduced why I am interested in this topic, and explained my personal connection to this research. In the second chapter, I described the eleven versions of peacock dances that serve as core examples for the analysis. I described various aspects of the dances, such as the movements, formations, music, cultural meanings, social functions, performing locations, etc. I also provided pictures to help the reader establish a clearer understanding about the dances. Chapters 3-6 each focused on one of the four creative factors: individual, community, nationality, and state. I described how the creative factors influence the peacock dance by comparing various versions. The last chapter is a conclusion, which developed several key points about my research.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.