Yang Liping's "Rite of Spring" Widely Acclaimed after European Premiere

May 14, 2019
Editor: Sandy Zhu

The dance "Rite of Spring" directed by well-known Chinese dancer Yang Liping has ended its three-day European premiere here, and was widely acclaimed by audiences and experts for its performance and creativity.

"Rite of Spring" is a classic of Russian musician Igor Stravinsky, which depicts the rituals of Russia's indigenous tribes to celebrate spring and shows the essence of original expressionism. Over the past 100 years, artists around the world have performed hundreds of versions of the masterpiece.

Performed at the Sadler's Wells Theater on May 9-11, Yang's version, an integration of Chinese and Western cultures, injected her unique dance expressions -- using a large number of oriental images, and strove to interpret the western classic music with oriental philosophy and aesthetics.

She blended Chinese folk dances with contemporary choreography, and took inspiration from Chinese symbols of nature. The piece used Stravinsky's original music and a specially created new score, inspired by traditional Chinese music.

"Rite of Spring" is Yang's second contemporary dance piece following the success of her previous work "Under Siege," which won widespread critical acclaim at its European premiere in London in 2016.

Millicent Hodson, a choreographer and former producer of "Rite of Spring," told Xinhua that she was impressed that Yang was not afraid to keep the dancers actually not moving for periods of time.

"I felt she was very courageous to balance the integrity of the two cultures and let them stand side by side ... and let us experience them," Hodson said.

Hodson said Yang has "broken a new ground" in terms of the openness of the body in space.

"I saw the performance and the reaction of the public, and they seemed very enthusiastic," she added.

David Jays, an editor of Dance Gazette magazine, said in his report that Yang is the latest in a long line of dance artists to harness the elemental surge of Stravinsky's masterpiece from 1913. "Yang Liping's new production creates a distinctively Chinese Rite of Spring," he wrote.

Donald Hutera, a dance journalist and editor, said in his review published Monday on The Times that Yang's play is closely tied to Buddhist and Tibetan philosophies, symbolism and Asian aesthetics, which is ambitious and avowedly spiritual, while her choreography has rhythm and pulse thanks to the music.

The creative producer of the play, Farooq Chaudhry, said "We had fantastic reviews ... from the newspapers and a lot of people were very excited by what they saw, because Yang brings something new to the European audience and Western audience."

He added that Yang is "an icon" and her success would inspire more Chinese dancers to come to the stage in the world.

Yang's "Rite of Spring" is scheduled to be presented at the Edinburgh International Festival 2019 on August 22-24 and is expected to tour around the world afterwards.

"Yang's dance expressions are unique, and good works need more international promotion. The success of 'Rite of Spring' in the U.K. (United Kingdom) is the best proof of it," Chaudhry said.

 

(Source: Xinhua)

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