'Painted Skin’ at Suzanne Dellal

Among the Strange Stories is a tale called Painted Skin, which observes the way in which people deck themselves out to hide their trepid souls.

By ORI J. LENKINSKI
September 5, 2019 10:12
1 minute read.
'Painted Skin’ at Suzanne Dellal

YANG HAILONG’S ‘Painted Skin’. (photo credit: KA KA)

In 1740, when Strange Stories From Chinese Studios by Pu Songling was posthumously published, Facebook and Instagram were inconceivable commodities. The selfie was ages and ages from becoming a societal obsession. And yet, Songling (1640-1715) noticed the vanity in his peers that would eventually breed this phenomenon. The document, an anthology criticizing and commenting on life under the Qing Dynasty, touched on many worrying trends such as materialism, artifice and exploitation.

Among the stories is a tale called Painted Skin, which observes the way in which people deck themselves out to hide their trepid souls. The most glamorous and stylish among us, the most exuberant, the most desired, are perhaps hiding horrors under layers of adornment.

For renowned choreographer Yang Hailong – known as one of the “three male starlets of Beijing” because of the gender fluidity of his works – this story touched a soft spot.

Hailong harked back to a time when performances were put on by all-male casts in order to bring a modern interpretation to the centuries-old text. In Painted Skin, the dancers of Yang Dance Arts portray a husband, wife and devilish spirit who grapple with one another and their impulses. Hailong brings his signature fusion of classical Chinese dance themes and modern technique to this production. He weaves together influences with great finesse, wherein one style compliments the other, regardless of the distance between them.

Painted Skin will be performed on Thursday and Friday, September 12 and 13, at 9 p.m. at the Suzanne Dellal Center, Yehieli St. 5, Tel Aviv. A discussion will follow the performance. For tickets, call 03-510-5656 or visit suzannedellal.org.il/en/_743


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