Dance review: Beijing Dance Theater TAPAC, June 5

The Beijing Dance Theater and its artistic director and choreographer Wang Yuanyuan have an impressive record in China.

June 18, 2013 21:55
1 minute read.

Beijing Dance Theater Haze 370. (photo credit: Courtesy PR)


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The Beijing Dance Theater and its artistic director and choreographer Wang Yuanyuan have an impressive record in China. Besides work for stage, she has choreographed for film director Zhang Yimou and others and contributed to major national events from the handover of Hong Kong to the opening of the 2008 Olympics.

With Haze, Wang doesn’t use ethnic adornments and relies purely on abstract contemporary movement, western music, stage materials and lighting effects. In this full evening work she got the chance to convey her artistic approach on best terms.

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Placing her dancers on a stage covered with soft mattresses ultimately changed the way the dancers stand, move, run, jump or fall (and indeed they execute a lot of spectacular falls).

This pliant support forces the dancers to use muscles in a new way just to rise and find their footing again. Think waterbed, or soft dune. So on one hand, the dancers fight for their center and equilibrium and on the other, they discover completely new, delightful physical experiences, such as belly jumps or backwards falls, which they can carry out without cracking their bones. Think trampoline.

Wang, ever proficient, offered diversified compositions, using rather simple unison moves and geometric structures, spiced with some loose actions. All emotional content, ambiance and atmosphere comes not through the straight choreographic effort or dancers’ expressions or interactions – which are rare – but from brilliant choice of supporting artists from other disciplines, who set the shifting moods; Polish contemporary composer Henryk Gorecki and Biosphere, the Norwegian experimental ambient artist.

The contributions of excellent set and light designers Tan Shaoyuan and Han Hang was immeasurable.

Though the dance lost much spirit due to being sunk in technical constraints, it did have highly aesthetic scenes that did justice to the fine young dancers.

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