Cultivating a budding relationship
By ORI J. LENKINSKI
The annual Spring Chinese Dance Festival hosts BMDC and Chengdu.
In Chinese tradition, the disappearance of flowers from their trees marks a new
incarnation of their lifetime. Though the petals may wilt and fall to the
ground, the essence of each flower goes on into the universe. The energy of
flora then becomes part of a larger force in the world, existing forever like
the sun’s rays or the wind. Thus in China, the changing of the seasons
symbolizes a sort of release for flowers and a gathering of power in the
This belief was the inspiration for the Beijing Modern Dance
Company’s newest production, The Blooming of Time, which will be presented this
month as part of the Suzanne Dellal Center’s annual Spring Chinese Dance
Festival. This will be the second visit of BMDC in four years and will further
deepen the budding connection between the local dance communities with Chinese
artists. In 2009, BMDC visited Israel as part of the Tel Aviv Dance Festival
with their production of The Wall by Pink Floyd.
The company was founded
in 1995 and is considered a pioneer of contemporary dance in the Far
East. In the years since the establishment of this troupe, a variety of
modern dance companies have sprung up around the Chinese provinces, bringing
contemporary dance into the forefront of local culture. And while the
choreographers of these troupes, such as BMDC artistic director Gao Yanjinzi,
are influenced greatly by international styles, they have managed to preserve
the unique Chinese aesthetic in their works.
Yanjinzi is one of the founding members of BMDC and has received international
recognition for her dancing and her choreography over the years. In 2008, she
was invited by Pina Bausch to create a solo work to premiere in Bausch’s
festival in Wuppertal, Germany. She has taken part in artistic residencies in
the US and has received awards at various competitions throughout Europe. In
each of her choreographies, Yanjinzi draws on her Buddhist upbringing for
inspiration, pulling together her contemporary life with the lessons of her
The Blooming of Time blends together the rich history of
movement that exists in China with the kind of modern dance most often
identified with European and American dance makers. The dancers are at once
fiercely technical and deeply connected to the energy created on stage. This
combination has earned BMDC endless applause at home and abroad over the
For those who are curious about the more traditional side of
China, Spring Chinese Dance will host the Chengdu Nationality Troupe Company
Ltd. This state-funded ensemble has mastered martial arts, traditional Chinese
dance and traditional Chinese props. Their performances boast enormous paper
dragons, twirling fabrics and stage combat.
For their inaugural
engagement in Israel, the Chengdu Nationality Troupe Company Ltd. will present
Heaven and Earth, a performance for the entire family.
Dance is a joint effort of the Suzanne Dellal Center and the Chinese
government. Performances will be held around the country, such as Ashdod,
Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Karmiel and Haifa.
The Spring Chinese Dance Festival
takes place February 18-24. For more information, visit