Yang Liping retells ancient battle of kings
Yang Liping is famed for her performance of the 'Peacock Dance' from her home province of Yunnan. But now, she's taken on the role of director for the dance drama 'Under Siege'. The piece combines modern dance, Peking Opera, kung-fu, and traditional Chinese music, and it will form part of this year's China Shanghai International Arts Festival.
The dance drama 'Under Siege' is inspired by an ancient Chinese story of the final battle between two kings, Xiang Yu and Liu Bang. The story also has a film version, 'Farewell My Concubine' by Cheng Kaige, which is a Golden Globe and Cannes winner.
Yang Liping chose this story for her first attempt at directing a dance drama. She said her inspiration is drawn from the spiritual battle she feels is ongoing in our modern life.
"We are under siege from both the outside world and our inner world. We create for ourselves a lot of trouble, fear and obstacles. And we don't know how to get through them, or how to stop doing harm to other people. People are getting hurt everyday, by the environment, by wars, by cultural invasions," Yang said.
The show combines Peking Opera with modern dance. Yang says she wants to explore a Chinese way of expression in dancing arts.
"Though our body structure is Chinese, we can see an imitation of Western or European dance in our body language. We don't have our own dancing language. I think Peking Opera is the highlight of Chinese dancing art. The art styles it uses, including singing, dancing, stage speech, and kung fu are really classical," she said.
Yang Liping was born in western Yunnan Province in China. She is famous for her interpretation of a peacock in a traditional dance. But in her new work, 'Under Siege', Yang won't be performing. Instead, she will be introducing a group of young up-and-coming dancers.
'Under Siege' is commissioned specifically for this year's China Shanghai International Arts Festival. After the festival, organizers will present the show in foreign countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.
"During last year's festival, we invited hundreds of theater managers from all over the world to see the trailer. And some have made contracts to introduce the show. We think this a good way to introduce our original works to the world," said Wang Jun, President, Center for SH Int'l Arts Festival.
Tickets for the show are available starting today. Prices range from 180 yuan to 1,080 yuan.