This is a Han dance in the Shandong YangGe (山東秧歌) style, of which fans and/or handkerchiefs are featured. In this case it's the former, and despite the hours I practiced, I'm still far from skilled with fans - they are very tricky.
I am constantly reminded of a quote from Scaramouche, a novel by Sabatini about the French Revolution in which the Sword is not only survival, it is art. A skilled swordsman, Doutreval, says to our hero Moreau:
"The sword is like a bird. If you clutch it too tightly, you choke it - too lightly, and it flies away."
I can't tell you how much this applies to the Art of the Chinese Fan. I have launched my fan across the room countless times. When I gripped it too tightly, true movement was not possible.
For this dance, I endeavored to capture a sense of romantic daydreaming, the glimmer of hope that stokes the heart, the crashing reality that one's dreams can never come true, and finally the sigh of resignation. I sincerely hope the viewer can feel some of this emotion. Regardless, I strive to give more each time.
Although this piece is loosely based off of (一枝紅杏出牆來), its goal is to give voice to the impossibility of romantic love in an era where females were highly cloistered. Indeed, it is a theme of unfulfilled dreams.