December 5, 2011

Chinese Dance "Flower Kidney"

My kids were reading the English version of the program for an end-of-year show in the Chinese community. They had doubt about the last one in the list, supposed to be the most exciting among all, "Flower Kidney". That doesn't sound right to them, or to me. If you have some knowledge of Chinese folk dance and also enjoy Chinese cuisine (a really Chinese one), you may guess what the Chinese title for the dance is: 花腰花.

What the hell is this? And Why is it linked to kidney? Here's my guess (and I can pretty much guarantee the accuracy). Go to Google Translate:|en|花腰花
and see what it is. That's right. The first 花 is "flower" and the two-character word "腰花" is kidney, as in "炒腰花"  or stir-fry (pig) kidney.

So, what is exactly this dance? Ignorant of Chinese folk dance, I have to hazard a guess. "腰花" is likely some dance stressing the waist (pun intended) of the dancer, not sure how the name came about. The first "花" is unlikely related to Flowers, but instead suggests variations of a standard pattern, as is often the case in traditional Chinese folk music. Therefore, the most appropriate literal translation is probably "Waist Dance With Variations". Prepend "Chinese" and add a translator's note, as you wish.

(On the other hand, I bet the waist dance indeed can be related to kidneys, in the sense that it improves your health if practiced moderately, or degrades it or harms the kidneys if otherwise.)

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