By Staff Middle Land 5:21 pm PST

Although the earliest popular social dance in the world originated in European countries, the one in China also has a prolonged history. As early as in the Han and Tang dynasties, while the scholars were drinking and listening to music in feasts, in addition to impromptu songs and dances, there was a rather ceremonial social dance, which is recorded in history as “each other dance to belong”. “Belong” is commission and genus, that is, the meaning of the invitation. Right after the previous person dances, he invites another person to dance; this is belonging. In banquets, the master generally dances first, then the guests dance in return. This kind of social dance had strict rules of etiquette, posture, and grooming to pay attention to, and it was rude to violate any of the rules.

Ancient scholars held differences from each other’s hearts and often showed their love and hate for each other in the social dance. Book of the Later Han Dynasty recorded such a “dance to belong” story: Cai Yong was deposed; his friends hosted a banquet to send him off. During the banquet, Wang Zhi, the governor of Wuyuan, danced to and invited Cai Yong to dance, but Cai Yong did not dance in return. Wang Zhi was furious, Cai Yong also whisked his clothes and walked away. It turned out that this governor of Wuyuan was the brother of Wang Fu; he had always relied on his brother’s power to do whatever he wanted and bullied people. Cai Yong, for his righteous integrity, did not care to socialize with him and intended to insult him. Offending this powerful official, Cai Yong later never regained the chance to return to the capital as an official.

Han portrait stone (stone murals that Han Dynasty people carved on the four walls of the tomb and shrine as decoration) also appealed to the “dance to belong” ceremonial dance. On the Han portrait stone unearthed in Pengxian, Sichuan, the master wears a crown, wide robes, and wide-sleeved sleeves, the sleeves and sets of narrow long-sleeved, colorful edging, the right hand raised, the left hand for the invitation, the guest is also a long robe and wide-sleeved, raising the right hand, the left hand forward to answer the dance. Female attendants next to the master, holding a fan, and male attendants next to the guest, holding a long table and preparing to serve wine and food. In addition, there is also a chain of image dances.

There is a similar record in the “Three Kingdoms”: As Tao Qian served as the county magistrate of Shu County, the county magistrate is coincidentally Zhang Pan, who is from the same hometown as him and has close relationships with his father. Zhang Pan was particularly cordial and would like to use him as a close helper. However, knowing Zhang Pan well, Tao Qian figured that working under his jurisdiction was an aggrievement. Once, Zhang Pan set up a banquet to invite Tao Qian, and danced to belong to him, Tao Qian reluctantly for this dance. When it came to the time to turn, Tao Qian did not turn. Zhang Pan asked why he did so, Tao Qian said: “I shall not turn, as it is winning over.”

Originally, the ancients regarded promotion as “a day turn a thousand steps”. In this statement, Tao Qian implies that if he turns, he no longer lives under Zhang Pan. Of course, Zhang Pan was able to understand the deep meaning of this, angrily, and thus hates Tao Qian and acts difficult here and there. Later, Tao Qian had to abandon his post and run away.