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Elegant Music Dance

After Chinese dance entered the civilized society from the primitive times, its development accelerated and got matured quickly. The Yayue (elegant music) system established in the early Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century -771BC) was a milestone marking maturity of the Chinese dance culture.

The rite and music system of the Zhou Dynasty (11th century - 256BC) was founded on the heritage of the preceding systems of the Xia (21st- 17th century BC) and Shang (17th - 11th century BC) Dynasties. As a ruling measure -- an instrument of education, the status and function of music and dance art were given unprecedented attention. This part of music and dance is the so-called Yayue (elegant music) or Yawu (elegant dance), which would remain the chief part of Chinese music and dance culture. Although it experienced ups and downs in the following feudal society spanning thousands of years, it always represented the orthodox trend of music and dance.

The chief content of the dance for Yayue was the Six Major Dances, or the Six-Dynasty Dances, which represented six dynasties. The first dance was said to be the Yunmen (also called Yunmen Dajuan, Xianchi or Chengyun) and it originated from the legendary ancient Emperor Huangdi. The following parts were the Dazhang (or Daxian) from the Emperor Yao, the Dashao (or Dazhao) from the Emperor Shun, and the Daxia (or Xiayue) from Emperor Yu of the Xia Dynasty, and the Dahuo (also called Sanglin) from Emperor Tang of the Shang Dynasty. The last dance was Dawu on a realistic Subject, which reflected the achievements of Emperor Wu who overthrew Emperor Zhou of the Shang Dynasty and set up the Zhou Dynasty.

These dances disappeared long ago and it's impossible to find their details nowadays. However, from various legends about these dances, we can still guess some basic elements of them.

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