Why is it unusual to call Tai Chi a dance?

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I’m not an expert on the subject, so I’m probably missing something pretty simple, but I’m not quite sure what it is. Tai Chi has always looked like a very peaceful and tranquil slow motion dance. Last time I was at a local park I talked to some Tai Chi practitioners about it, they seemed to consider it quite rude for me to label it as “dance like.” I’m really curious so I’d like to know-and if there actually is Tai Chi dancing!

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Lordpercywooster XXV

its a Kata
a number of fighting moves meant to train the body to defend and kill attackers
is there a boxing dance? a karate dance?
very insulting

angewl <3

tai chi was originally developed as a martial art. it is an ancient form of exercise that uses slow, smooth body movements to achieve a state of relaxation.
from an onlooker, tai chi does look somewhat “dance-like”. i don’t see how the people that you talked to it about got offended. you didn’t insult them. you just called it like you saw it.


It is dance-like and trance-like. It is also called “Poetry in Motion” and “Meditation in Motion”. As a person goes into a meditative state of mind during practice and close your eyes, your body does sway from side to side and it can look like dancing.
Maybe just a couple of grumpy practitioners. If it was my group, I would ask you to come and dance with us.

Tai Chi Horse

I just saw a great blog with Tai Chi Master Bruce Frantzis discussing how he accidently created the Tai Chi Disco Craze in China during the late 80s. In the process of explaining it I think he gave an answer that cuts straight to your question:
“Tai Chi in those days was never thought of as a dance. As a matter of fact, if you called Tai Chi a dance in China, that was probably the strongest way you could possibly insult them because it meant the Tai Chi had absolutely no substance whatsoever. In general dance was thought of as a frivolous thing. I am talking here about the dance done in clubs and for enjoyment, not the professional ballet or other advanced forms.”
If you want to learn about the dance itself (which I believe is the closest thing to what you’re asking for), go and watch the original video!


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