When the machine starts to dance

A few years ago, I had an Argentine friend who wanted to go to Angola in Africa to learn a dance called “Kizomba”. I thought to myself, Argentina is the hometown of tango. What kind of amazing dance made this Argentine go to Angola to learn art? Later, I learned that this is a sexy and romantic duet dance. It was popular from Angola in the 1980s and attracted many fans all over the world, and it derives many variations.

In fact, the tango dance, regarded as the quintessence of the Argentines, can also be traced back to the descendants of black slaves from Angola and Congo. They combined black dance with European traditional round dance, and gradually formed tango dance in the 19th century.

Norwegian African-American dancer Priest said that the dancer’s body is like a archive that keeps on writing. If you know how to interpret the dance moves, you can identify the trajectory of dance culture.

For example, the “African Song and Dance” program that opened in the Spring Festival Gala this year was largely adapted from the dances of ethnic groups in southern Africa. The Zulu warrior dancers of South Africa are just like wearing a feather crown, leather skirts and furry legs in the Spring Festival Gala, except that the costumes of the Spring Festival Gala dancers are more gorgeous and bright, and there is no standard for warriors. Weapons and shields.

“Egyptian Cane Dance and Oriental Dance” is another program. “Cane Cane Dance” can be traced back to ancient Egyptian war dances. Warriors holding cane sticks show heroic gestures; the more common name of “Oriental Dance” is actually ” Belly dance”, this kind of dance is often regarded as a typical case of exotic and patriarchal gaze, but in recent years, many female dancers have reinterpreted the meaning of belly dance.

From Kizumba dance in Angola, Zulu dance in South Africa, to Eastern dance in North Africa and Egypt, it shows the diversity of African dances. But what is the source of this diversity? In fact, the formation of dance has its own context.

For example, in Nigeria in West Africa, the Kanuri people who live in the hot desert prefer to save energy, and dancing looks like they swing their hands and feet casually to music; while the Yoruba people in the forest area have very delicate and changeable dance skills, and their footwork. It’s like walking through the jungle; the Yizhuo people who live by the sea fishing always dance like they are bent over to fish with broken steps.

Many readers may not understand the relationship between daily life and dance, because the division of labor in modern large-scale society is so complicated, and automation technology replaces manpower, and collective singing and dancing are rarely combined with daily labor. Dance has been classified as one category. Art” or “leisure activity”. The same goes for modern African young people. Traditional dances have gradually become “intangible cultural heritage”, but new popular dances have spread to the world through the media, including Kizumba dance or hip-hop street dance.

This is not just the age of new media, but also the age of robots. At the beginning of this year, the “Boston Dynamics” in the United States launched the “Robot New Year Dance”, and this year’s Spring Festival Gala was also accompanied by a “Robot” dance. If you pay attention to it, you will find that the robot is dancing the African American “twist”, and in the middle of the “robot” is the star dancing hip-hop street dance.

So, perhaps the “mechanical dance” in hip-hop dance is most suitable as a response to contemporary daily life. When Michael Jackson performed mechanical dance on TV in the 1970s, he actually realized that production automation was beginning to replace human work. Are people a puppet or machine that can be replaced? When the boundary between the physical body and the machine begins to blur, the mechanical dance is not only a confusion, but also an active declaration of survival.