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【Learn Chinese】Let’s dance: 10 Chinese Dance Words (Par
Do you want to learn more dance related Chinese vocabulary? This is part two of our article.
Ballet (Dance) 芭蕾舞
Now, let’s gracefully move away from the vibrant rhythms of Latin dance to explore the elegant world of theatrical dance. We’re entering the realm of Ballet, known in Mandarin as 芭蕾舞 (bāléi wǔ). The term 芭蕾 (bāléi) phonetically borrows from the French word for “Ballet,” and it’s interesting to note the silent “t” in the French pronunciation.
芭蕾舞 is renowned for its highly formalized steps and graceful movements, a true embodiment of poise and precision. Beyond its meticulous technique, ballet is also known for its elaborate costumes and theatrical elements, providing a feast for the audience’s eyes.
Some of the most famous ballet performances include “Swan Lake” (天鹅湖, tiān’é hú) and “The Nutcracker” (胡桃夾子, hútáo jiázi). These performances are celebrated worldwide for their captivating storytelling and exquisite choreography, embodying ballet’s timeless beauty and artistic depth.
Square Dancing (China) 广场舞
Stepping into a different dance genre, we come to “Square Dancing,” as known as 广场舞 (guǎngchǎng wǔ) in China. 广场 (guǎngchǎng) means “square,” referring to public squares or open spaces commonly found in urban areas.
Here, 广场舞 is not just a dance but a vibrant community event. This group dance, often performed in these public squares or parks, is a favorite morning or evening activity. It’s known for its easy-to-learn steps and the sense of camaraderie it fosters among participants. People of all ages come together to dance to a mix of music, from traditional Chinese melodies to modern pop songs, creating a lively and inclusive atmosphere.
Dancer 舞者
Now, let’s focus on the term for “dancer,” which in Chinese is 舞者 (wǔ zhě). By now, you’re familiar with 舞 (wǔ), meaning “dance.” The suffix 者 (zhě) is used to indicate a person who engages in a specific activity. So, 舞者 (wǔ zhě) literally translates to “one who dances” or simply, “dancer.”
Another term for “dancer” in Chinese is 舞蹈家 (wǔdǎo jiā). This term is more commonly used to refer to professional dancers who pursue dancing as their career. To express “I am a dancer” in Chinese, you would say “我是舞者” (wǒ shì wǔzhě), which directly translates to “I am dancer.”
What if you specialize in a specific type of dance? It’s easy to specify in Chinese. Just add the name of the dance type before 舞者 (dancer).
For example:
我是拉丁舞者. (wǒ shì lādīng wǔzhě) - I’m a Latin dancer.
我是芭蕾舞者. (wǒ shì bāléi wǔzhě) - I’m a Ballet dancer.
Dance partner 舞伴
Dancing can be a solo or a shared activity. When you dance with someone, that person is your “dance partner,” known in Chinese as 舞伴 (wǔ bàn). The word 伴 (bàn) means “partner,” indicating a companion in dance.
Having a dance partner is special. It’s about harmonious communication and sharing the rhythm and expression of the dance. The partnership is key to creating fluid and dynamic movements in dances like ballroom or salsa. This connection extends beyond the dance floor, symbolizing mutual respect and the joy of dancing together.
Dance party 舞会
A dance party, where people come together to enjoy dancing, is known in Chinese as 舞会 (wǔ huì). In this context, 会 (huì) means “a gathering” or “an assembly,” perfectly reflecting these events’ social and communal nature.
A familiar example of a dance party is the promenade, commonly known as prom, which in Chinese is 毕业舞会 (bìyè wǔhuì). This term translates to “graduation dance party,” highlighting its role as a significant celebration at the end of a school year, especially in high school or college.
  • More than just occasions for socializing, dance parties like 舞会 and 毕业舞会 are cultural experiences. They unite people in the shared joy of dance, creating lasting memories and a sense of community.