The Yangko dance, also called twisting Yangko dance, is a traditional Chinese folk dance commonly performed in the Northern provinces of China. The dance is smooth and compact in rhythm, featuring its jolly scene, abundant dance language, exuberant gestures, and vivid performing style. Therefore, people often take the Yangko dance during the spring festival or some other special celebrations.
The Yangko dance was created by the farmers when they worked in the rice field in the Song Dynasty, and is used to worship god of farming to pray for harvest in ancient times. Year after year, the Yangko dance constantly absorbed techniques and forms from farming songs, folk songs, folk Kungfu, acrobatics and dramas. Until the Qing Dynasty, "the Yangko dance" had been popular around the whole country.
Because of the differences of regions and customs, some variations exist in the Yangko dances. To identify different kinds of Yangko dances, the name of the region or the feature of the dance is often added ahead. For example, the “Drum Yangko dance” in Shandong Province, the “Shanbei Yangko dance” in Shanbei Area, the “Field Yangko dance” in Hebei, Beijing and Liaoning Provinces, and the “Manchu Yangko dance” in the Northeast China.
There are three types of performance in Chinese Yangko dance: the song-and-dance duets, Yangko performed on the ground and Yangko preformed on the stilts. The major accompanied instruments of Yangko dance include suona (trumpet-like wind instrument), small cymbals, drum, flute, erhu (alto fiddle) and zhuban (bamboo clappers). Yangko dancers usually wear bright and colorful costumes, and their movements are vigorous and quick, with distinguished local flavor.
The Yangko dance is more than a kind of performing art in China, because many Chinese people take it as an important method of relaxing. They would like to organize Yangko dance matches or performances during grand ceremonies and also in their daily life.