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Classical novel is now dance show

Updated: 2015-11-30 08:31:45

( China Daily )

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The dance show The Family is adapted from Ba Jin's classic novel of the same title. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Family, a Chinese classical novel from the early 1930s that speaks to the problems of Chinese living in those times, has returned to today's audiences in the form of a dance show.

Written by Ba Jin, a renowned author from Sichuan province in Southwest China, the story follows the Gao family, members of which struggle through rigid traditions, out-of-fashion social mores and a time generally spent in anguish.

The family's three brothers face hard choices in love and freedom, and each chooses a different path, be it endurance or escape.

"It's a story about the pursuit of happiness," says He Chuan, the director and choreographer of the show. "The characters have their flaws, but we still sympathize with them and are touched by their lives."

Published in the chaos of civil war in the country, the novel had inspired younger people back then to fight for change, becoming a national classic in the process.

The book has been adapted for TV dramas, movies and a ballet piece.

"We need to look at our lives today and see what's lacking," He says, adding that after watching the show people will think more about different obstacles they face daily.

The show condenses the novel into four scenes-two weddings and two funerals, chipping away much of the original story.

"We hope that the feelings in the book will be conveyed in the show," says Qi Ya, the playwright.

"Today's audiences will relate to the story and think about their own dreams."

The Family is originally placed in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital.

The 90-minute dance show is seasoned with the province's spicy flavors, with the performance adding traditional Sichuan Opera to the music. While the local opera influences some dance moves, the setting reflects social norms from 80 year ago.

The show features Yu Erge, an award-winning actress performing the role of Mingfeng, the book's central heroine.

The Sichuan Song and Dance Ensemble opened this year's Sichuan Art Festival with the show in Chengdu on Saturday. It will tour other cities in China in December.


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