With summer in full swing, the Suzanne Dellal Center’s aisles have earned a new level of tread. As the end of July approaches, the center is gearing up for a new month filled with premieres, guest performances and festivals. Such is the ebb and flow of the annual Hot Dance Festival, which fills July and August with dance from all over the world.
This year, the festival will host the exceptional international guest troupe The Guangdong Modern Dance Company. A major player in the Chinese dance world, GMDC will present a mixed program with three pieces from the current repertoire.
This year, GMDC is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Based in one of the most bustling areas of China, GMDC has served as a magnet for talented artists from many disciplines.
The troupe was originally founded by the Department of Culture of Guangdong Province, with Willy Tsao, the godfather of Chinese dance, as its artistic director. Twenty years ago, the cultural landscape of China was much sparser. With the establishment of this company, Guangdong became the first province to support and house a modern dance company in the country. In the years since, China has developed greatly as a home for contemporary dance, with young companies springing up every year.
Tsao passed on his role as artistic director to Pun Sui-fai several years ago to found Beijing Dance LDTX, which performed in Israel in February.
Tsao continues to lead GMDC as the managing director.
For its Israeli engagement, the company has prepared a program called “Three Episodes: Between Body and Soul.” The three episodes are Voice After and Mountain and Water by Liu Qi, resident choreographer of GMDC, as well as Touched by Xing Liang.
Voice After was initially inspired by a poem by Chinese poet Zhao Zhenkai, otherwise known as Bei Dao. Bei Dao’s poem describes the ocean waves flowing while a storm brews in the sky. Voice After is the second part of a trilogy entitled Other Suns, choreographed by Lui Qi. The initial premiere of the work took place in 2009 in San Francisco and was a collaboration between GMDC and American ensemble Margaret Jenkins Dance Company.
Mountain and Water, also by Lui Qi, is a multimedia experience. Drawn from the ancient Chinese form of ink paintings, Mountain and Water is danced in front of shifting images on a large screen. Here, Lui Qi showcases her ability to choreograph with great delicacy, favoring slow and subtle movements over dynamic leaps and twirls.
Xing Liang is considered to be one of the best contemporary dancers to ever emerge from China. Although at first he was reluctant to study the form, Liang was trained in Beijing and went on to pursue a career in dance.
Having danced for a number of respected companies, Liang struck off to create on his own. Touched is a pure dance piece. In this work, Liang limited himself to using the body only to express the extreme emotions he sometimes feels.
GMDC will perform on August 11 and 12 at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.