Year of the Monkey

Suzanne Dellal presents a two-part program in its annualSpring Chinese Dance.

Spring Chinese Dance. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Spring Chinese Dance.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Earlier this month, China celebrated the passing of the Year of the Sheep into the Year of the Monkey.
The ninth of the 12 zodiac signs, the Year of the Monkey is a tricky one, said to bring misfortune to those born in its cycles. In the Chinese calendar, every year has a Zodiac sign that corresponds to one of the five natural elements, creating a pattern that repeats itself every 60 years. So this year’s monkey is not just any monkey, it’s a fire monkey.
To celebrate, or perhaps ward off, the mischievous spirits that are afoot this year, the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv has put together a two-part program. The annual Spring Chinese Dance festivities will include performances by Shaolin monks from the Henan Province, as well as the Israeli premiere of Sumeru by the Guangdong Modern Dance Company.
Shaolin Warriors features 22 monks from one of the famed Shaolin monasteries in China. Practitioners of the centuries-old kung fu discipline, these men are highly skilled movers.
The performance will include demonstrations of a number of sequences from their daily practices, using props and music. These performances have been made possible by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Israel.
Shaolin Warriors will be performed throughout the weekend at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
For their return to Israel, the Guangdong Modern Dance Company will present its newest work, Sumeru, by resident choreographer Liu Qi. GMDC invites audiences to focus in on the esthetic world created by Liu Qi.
GMDC is an important player in the Chinese dance community. In existence for more than two decades, the troupe strives to bring new voices to China, pushing the envelope with their inclusion of contemporary dance streams and young choreographers.
For the past several years, Liu Qi has developed an artistic language that honors the rich Chinese history of movement while presenting the audience with new forms of expression.
In Sumeru, Liu Qi draws on the natural world for inspiration. The title refers to Mount Meru, a sacred five-peaked mountain that is referenced in Buddhist, Jain and Hindu writings. A home to the gods, Mount Meru is said to be a massive entity, more than 85 times the Earth’s diameter. Many temples have been fashioned in the image of this wonder.
As in all of Liu Qi’s works, the dancers visibly channel an outside force or spirit. Their movements are fluid and precise, seemingly guided by deep internal impulses. The work is highly sensitive and harmonious.
GMDC will close the month of February at the Suzanne Dellal Center with three evening-length performances.
For more information about Spring Chinese Dance, visit