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One form of Chinese dance is Bian lian or Face Changing, which is a fast-paced dance in which actors wear brightly colored, which they change within the blink of an eye. Apparently most of us won't be seeing this performance any time soon because Bian Lian because foreigners are not permitted to learn the dance moves.
On a brighter note, the popular Sichuanese opera form of drama and musical theater has origins as far back as the third century. Masks and face paint colors, traditionally black, red, white and grey are commonly used in Chinese opera to enhance facial features and convey strong emotions.
Chinese New Year Masks enhance the festive moods and emotions of the celebration that actually last for several days, ending with the lantern (Yuanxiao) festival. This holiday is celebrated world-wide especially among Chinese emigrants and their descendants. New Year masks are painted with bright colors and tons of red, because the color red is considered lucky. Masks may take on gruesome and grotesque features, or they may resemble actual animals or combinations of animal features. The Chinese Dragon is a composite of the best qualities of several beasts, some of which are a horse's head and a snake's tail, horns of a stag, head of a camel, eyes of a demon, the neck of a snake, a belly of a clam, the scales of a carp, claws of an eagle, soles of a tiger and lastly, the ears of a cow. And this is a good thing! Especially if the dragon has a pearl in its mouth, pearl is associated with wealth, good luck, and prosperity.
Chinese Masks can be created out of stones and metals, leather and cloth, paper, then painted in with colors and designs. Masks may represent animals such as the lion and dragon, or have human characteristics. Chinese masks are popular especially during the Chinese New Year celebrations and represent spirits, good and evil beings and animal ancestors.
Decorate your Chinese mask generously with the color red, which represents good luck and prosperity and use cut and paste shapes, brightly colored paints, feathers, sequins, and paper or fabric trimmings.
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