Year of the rabbit

BeijingDance LDTX and an ensemble of Shaolin monks will entertain audiences this month, which marks the beginning of the Chinese new year.

BeijingDance LDTX (photo credit: Courtesy)
BeijingDance LDTX
(photo credit: Courtesy)
To honor the coming of the Chinese new year, the Suzanne Dellal Center and the Chinese government will bring two troupes to perform in Tel Aviv in February as part of the Chinese Spring Dance project.
Ushering in the year of the rabbit, the company BeijingDance LDTX and an ensemble of Shaolin monks will travel to Israel. This coming week, Neveh Tzedek will be overrun with the talented artists of BeijingDance LDTX and a group of incredibly lithe Shaolin monks.
BeijingDance LDTX (Lei Dong Tian Xia), literally “thunder rumbles under heaven,” was founded in 2005. It was the first company to be established in China independent of the government. Led by Willy Tsao, known worldwide as the godfather of contemporary Chinese dance, the troupe has dissolved many boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable performance in their home country. In an evening called Celebration, the amazingly skilled dancers of BeijingDance LDTX will perform original works from their vast repertoire.
One of Tsao’s main objectives as artistic director of BeijingDance LDTX is to promote and encourage emerging choreographers. As such, he is constantly searching for new talent, mainly among his dancers. For its Israeli shows, BeijingDance has put together a tasting menu of its work.
Four pieces will be presented, each choreographed by a slightly different mix of artists.
An abridged version of The Cold Dagger will start the evening. The work was choreographed by Li Hanzhong, deputy artistic director, in collaboration with star dancer Ma Bo.
Following that is Sky by Liu Bing and Song Tingting, an excerpt from One Table Two Chairs by Willy Tsao, Li Hanzhong and Ma Bo. Finally, All River Red, which is one of the company’s most recent and most successful pieces. In All River Red, choreographers Li Hanzhong and Ma Bo adapted Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to fit their culture. Presenting a painful and honest portrayal of the clash between East and West, the piece is a dramatic and moving work.
The second evening in this festival is more martial arts than dance; however, the monks’ performance will be no less physically demanding than that of BeijingDance LDTX. The Shaolin monks will perform a traditional demonstration of stage combat, drawn from hundreds of years of tradition and practice.
The first evidence of Shaolin kung fu dates back to the sixth century. A few battles were documented, during which monks from the Shaolin temple defeated robbers by using their unique skills. In the 16th and 17th centuries, martial arts became an integral part of life in the temple.
In 1610, the first manual on the form was printed, entitled Exposition on the Original Shaolin Staff Method, a document that is still used today. In recent years, due to increased international attention, the abbot of Shaolin opened his doors to the media, allowing a 1,500-year-old tradition to enter pop culture.
Many choreographers have referenced the deft movements of these monks in their dance pieces.
Most recently, Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi used 50 similarly trained monks in his epic work Sutra, which toured in Israel last year.
The two shows will run from the February 13 to 20, with performances in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Karmiel and Beersheba.

BeijingDance LDTX will perform at the Suzanne Dellal Center on Feb. 14 and 15.

The Shaolin Monks will perform on Feb. 16, 18 and 19. For tickets, visit or call (03) 510-5656