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Dance dramas featured at dance festival's artists' conference

Updated: 2020-09-28 17:08:49

( chinadaily.com.cn )

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To create a dance drama, we should face our true self, true history and true human nature, well-known director and choreographer Tong Ruirui recalled her work, Deep in Memory, staged in 2018.

It was the second time she explored the survivors and witnesses of the Nanjing Massacre, when more than 300,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese invaders in six weeks beginning on Dec 13, 1937. It was 13 years after her debut stage work, Nanking 1937, in 2005.

Tong was speaking at the artists' conference of this year's Zhongguancun Dance Festival, which opened in Beijing on Sept 5 and ended Saturday.

The conference, attended by directors, choreographers, playwrights and scholars, was held to promote innovative cooperation between dance circles and other arts and technology fields, and to dig further into international operation and industrial development of dance dramas.

Tong's work, Soaring Wings: Journey of the Crested Ibis, in cooperation with playwright Luo Huaizhen, has enjoyed great popularity at home and abroad in recent years.

According to Tong, she is working on a realistic stage work about two generations of Chinese entrepreneurs grasping their opportunities during the four decades' of reform and opening-up. The work is expected to go on stage in January.

Han Zhen is jointly responsible for directing and choreographing The Eternal Wave, which tells a story during China's modern revolutionary history. It has been performed 150 times since its premier in August 2019, and Han said she thinks the main difficulty in creating a stage work is bridging the gap between dlife details and the dance itself.

A director should exert her strength not only during creation but also after the work has been put on stage. The overall talents of a team determine the creation of a dance drama and the sustainability of its artistic quality in the long term.

Liu Zhen, one of the initiators and head of the youth dance company at the Beijing Dance Academy, said the art form is full of active thinking, spirituality and distillation of emotional contrast, and his priority is to find the "only accuracy" for the theme he wants to convey.

Cao Xueqin, a new biographical work he directed about the author of the classic novel, Dream of the Red Chamber, debuted during the festival.

The key to success of an art festival lies on whether the artistic works can hit a larger audience group and win people's hearts, and what platform it can provide for artists to express themselves, said Zhang Ligang, chairman of the board of Beijing Joyway Culture and Media Co Ltd, and also one of the festival's organizers.

"We have to present our academic research and perspectives as a pioneering dance drama festival," Zhang said, adding that the conference's aim was to discuss into the creation, development and market situation of dance dramas from several dimensions.

In Luo's opinion, the dance drama festival emphasized the current development of dance as an art form and its prospect to break through its boundaries in the future.

A special show of top Chinese young dancers, including Wang Yabin, Zhang Aoyue, Liu Yan and Hu Yan, on Saturday marked the end of the festival. Each has taken a turn to present one of their representative works.

According to Zhang, the festival, since its launch on Sept 5, attracted more than 16,000 people into the theater, and had 4.5 million viewers online by Sunday.

The 47 shows of the 23 dance dramas take up more than 30 percent of the performances on show after Beijing's theaters in late July resumed operation after the COVID-19 pandemic was put under control.

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