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.

February 20, 2013 22:03
1 minute read.
Blooming of Time

dance370. (photo credit: Li Zhiguo )


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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 dance tools.

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.

The 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.

Many 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.

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