Dancer Yang Liping reinterprets Stravinsky's Rite of Spring

China | 16 Nov 2018 9:19 pm

The latest production of reputed choreographer and dancer Yang Liping, "Rite of Spring" has made its world premiere at the Shanghai International Art Festival. The modern dance interpretation of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's ballet has been praised by audiences and critics.

It is a new take on the western classic through eastern philosophy, wisdom, and aesthetics, CGTNreports.

Yang Liping's "Rite of Spring" intends to create an abstract universe where space, time and life coexist in the transient sense of a cycle. It features a woman who sacrifices, awakes and is reborn, a priest who is regarded as an oppressor, a lion symbolizing authority and inviolable rules, and a peacock which is a metaphor for hope and Nirvana.

"Many versions of 'Rite of Spring' have been made around the world. I thought it was too difficult at the beginning. Few dancers could manage it. But the rituals observed in Russia have something in common with those in Yunnan, my hometown. They are based upon human beings' understanding of and respect toward heaven, earth, and life. So there are some feelings I can identify with," said Yang.

She belongs to the Bai ethnic group and grew up in the mountains in Yunnan Province. She received little professional training as a dancer. She drew most of her inspiration from nature, learning the spirit of the water, the mountains as well as the plants and the animals nurtured by her homeland.

For "Rite of Spring," Yang infused it with a range of Tibetan cultural elements, including traditional music, costumes, and beliefs.

Yang said that when the audience enters, they can see the dancers sitting in meditation. Introspective, their eyes are closed. Yet they look as though they are wide open because the second pair of eyes is painted on.

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