The most famous dinner theater in the city stages a glamorous spectacle with extravagant costumes, traditional dance, music and singing. The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, a wonderful performance of the ancient music and dance, is a must when you visit Xian. The city, which was formerly known as Chang'an has a very long history, and was the imperial capital during 13 dynastic periods. Of these, the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) was the most prosperous and glorious of all. The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is an outstanding exponent of this ancient stable and prosperous society, keeping alive its splendid culture and providing an insight into the peaceful life style of the period.
As an art form, the show has its roots in folk fetes, when dances were first performed by people as part of rituals of prayer for a good harvest or a better life. Over thousands of years, the dances developed from a few simple postures or gestures to become delicate and artistic reaching a peak during the Tang Dynasty. Unlike some other regimes, the Tang was open to outside influences and was willing to take in the best of various art forms of not only the past dynasties but also the ethnic groups in the northwestern China as well as central and western Asia. Thus a wide range of unusual oriental musical instruments, many techniques such as painting, sculpting, pattern and costume design, cuisine and dining etiquette, singing and dancing was accepted by the Chinese, paving the way for the kind of entertainment that is now the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. By combining poetry with the skilled playing of musical instruments, singing, dancing and also stunning costumes, the modern presentation is certain to give you an impressive view of ancient China including its splendid history, brilliant arts, distinct traditions and customs.
In 1981, the artists of Xian's Shaanxi Provincial Song & Dance Troupe, inspired by the thriving tourist industry, conceived a series of programs to illustrate on stage the history, culture and artistic heritage of Xian. At that time, the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, as a comprehensive form of art being lost in admiration, promptly came into the sight of the artists.
In order to embody the characteristics of the music and the dance of Tang accurately, the artists spent much time reading the relevant books, historical records and monographs on the entertainments enjoyed by the royal court. They also set about learning traditional arts from folk artists and consulted experts on certain issues. With the written materials as a basis, they then visited many historical sites such as Dunhuang, Yungang and Longmen as these were a great source of contemporary visual information due to the presence of frescoes, carvings and sculptures.
Over a year was spent on preparation and using a visualization of the imperial court as its setting, the production was an integration of a series of successive programs of music, singing and dancing, manifesting a unique classical style and features typical of Xian. The specific work of composing and choreographing had been started in June of 1982 and through the joint efforts of many artists, the debut of the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show on October 1st in that year proved to be a great success and was highly praised by a delegation from UNESCO. The production has toured many cities in China as well as numerous foreign countries such as Japan, Russia, Korea, Singapore, Norway, Denmark, etc.
and see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors.