Concert Review: Beijing Modern Dance Company
The small company of eight decent performers is well versed in diverse disciplines, yet often seemed at a loss for the speedy shifts.
Blooming of Time Photo: Li Zhiguo
Choreographer Gao Yangjinzi takes us on a journey through time and the cycle of
life. The seasonal rollercoaster reflecting metaphorical birth and death of all
beings here, and in the afterworld, is depicted from flowers’ point of view. The
title, Blooming of Time, actually says it all.
In the notes Yangjinzi
explains that the four seasons are like a breath of the deity, of heaven and the
earth. Tackling the subject is a humongous task which took the company on a very
long trip. The BMDC company’s official visit, as part of reciprocal cultural
relations, carries an obvious political message, representing the new Chinese
spirit which extends an open hand to western civilization, keeping an open mind
while moving forward, yet leaning on older foundations.
The small company
of eight decent performers is well versed in diverse disciplines, yet often
seemed at a loss when it came to the required speedy shifts – and over 20
costume changes – from martial arts jumps and rolls to ritualistic Buddhist
spirituality, from theatrical flings based on Chinese Opera and folklore
components, to resurrecting mythological images while maintaining western modern
The dramaturgical structure follows the 24 solar
subdivisions of the Chinese calendar year, but it was hardly necessary to take
that literally as it damaged the artistic flow. On stage, it is more important
to discard excessive stimuli and means, and strive for more depth.
dancers use many props and interesting costumes to portray the various changes
in the narrative. Many add very pleasing visual effects though using oriental
clichés such as fans, yards of flying cloths and paper parasols.
entrances, of almost each sub-section, offered promising visual charms. Too
often, the artistic substance had no time to develop and deepen, as often occurs
in review shows the basic aspiration of which is entertainment.