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Tang Dynasty Dance Meets AR: Watch the Viral Performance That Won Spring Festival 2021

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A dance performance blending augmented reality (AR) tech and Tang Dynasty aesthetics — plus a dash of comedy — has become one of the biggest viral hits during China’s week-long Spring Festival holiday to celebrate entering the Year of the Ox. Videos of the performance, which appeared on Henan TV’s regional Spring Festival Gala and is entitled “Night Banquet in the Tang Dynasty Palace,” have been watched over 10 million times on social media platform Weibo, where the main hashtag associated with it has more than 880 million views.

As described by Chen Lei, the show’s general director, the performance incorporated “5G and augmented reality (AR) technology to combine virtual scenes with a real stage, bringing singing and dancing into a museum setting, creating the feeling of a wonderful night at the museum.”

Dancers were dressed as palace maids from the Tang Dynasty and performed a sweet, humorous dance that paid homage to Chinese culture. The use of AR created the illusion that the dancers were part of traditional paintings projected onto the stage. The clever technique blended modern-day technology with age-old Chinese artifacts and artwork, creating a captivating performance.

Henan’s Spring Festival Gala ranked first on Weibo’s Variety Show list over the holiday, beating out the main CCTV broadcast, which went viral internationally for the wrong reasons this year after an opening performance featured blackface.

Related:

Chinese Museum Turns Ancient Relics Into Emojis, Becomes Internet Hit

Social media has been abuzz with praise for “Night Banquet” and the performance has helped to spark further interest in Chinese history, with many commenters saying they would like to visit Henan Museum to learn more about the region’s heritage.

This isn’t the first time that the Tang Dynasty has gotten attention from netizens at this time of year. In 2018, designer Aoluojia (@京渝堂汉家铺子) went viral on Weibo for her Tang Dynasty-inspired designs. She posted a series of pictures of a plus-sized model wearing her traditional designs in celebration of the Lantern Festival (which falls two weeks after Lunar New Year’s Day).

Such viral moments also complement the booming Hanfu trend among China’s youth, something you can find out more about here:

Cover photo: a still from Henan TV’s “Night Banquet in the Tang Dynasty Palace” performance

Chloe Yorke
    Chloe was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Shanghai and San Francisco. She is currently studying Chinese at Durham University in the UK and is passionate about Chinese art and culture.