[GZ]Nine Songs to stage(March 22-23)
2013-January-28 Source: Newsgd.com
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Photo of Nine Songs

Time: 20:00 from March.9 to March.23, 2013 (Friday to Saturday)

Venue: Guangzhou Opera House

Price: Pending

Nine Songs, a cycle of poems written by Qu Yuan some 2300 years ago, is considered a pinnacle of classical Chinese literature. Drawing on the ancient imagery and sensibilities, Lin Hwai-min creates a thoroughly contemporary ritual, in which distant and recent pasts collide.

Masked shamans, playing the roles of Gods and Goddesses, enact otherworldly rites to music from India, Tibet, Java, Japan and indigenous tribes of Taiwan. Their dances are interspersed with appearances of people in contemporary dress: a man in a modern-day suite with luggage calmly crosses the stage; a young man on bicycle dashes through the crowd; scores of protesters scurry for cover from blazing searchlights.

The East and the West, the Past and the Present, give rise to an aesthetic that has won Nine Songs the accolade of "a perfect choreographic paradigm for a true intercultural dance form." (Ballet International)

Received to great acclaim at the Vienna International Dance Festival, the Next Wave Festival in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, and major cities in Germany, Canada and the United States, Nine Songs was hailed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as "one of the most important dance works of our time."

Qu Yuan's poems are an adaptation from ancient shamans' hymns, which celebrate life, nature and honourable death. The shamans praise the deities with songs and dance in the manner of lovers, and lament that the deities often fail to appear, or, even if they do, only too briefly.

Like the poems, the dance reflects the cycles of nature. The first half moves from day to night, from the bright and powerful Sun God to the dark gods of Fate who bring deceit and abuse to the human world. The second half of the work follows the seasons. Spring arrives with the Goddess of the Xiang River awaiting her beloved in vain and gradually becoming a symbol of wasted youth. Summer is represented by the God of Clouds, who 'dances in air' by bearing down on two mortal carriers throughout the eight-minute section. Autumn sees the Mountain Spirit wandering in solitude; his mouth wide open, as if foretelling an impending catastrophe with his soundless cries.

Finally, Winter brings death and destruction. In 'Homage to the Fallen,' dancers in black pants fall one after another as the names of those who sacrificed their lives for fellow humans, in ancient China and in recent history of Taiwan, are recited in Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese, Hakka dialect, and Atayal.

The man in black suit with a large suitcase enters for the last time, crossing the stage scattered with fallen bodies...

Echoing the rich metaphors of flowers and foliage in Qu Yuan's verses, set designer Ming Cho Lee uses the lotus, a symbol of reincarnation in Chinese culture, as his main motif. Against the backdrop of an enlarged detail of a lotus painting by the Taiwanese artist Lin Yu-San, lotus blossoms and opulent leaves emerge from a pond built in the orchestra pit.

In the shimmering reflection of ripples, dancers place candles on the stage to 'Honour the Dead,' creating a winding river of flickering lights with hundreds of candles stretching into a starry sky and thus bringing the ritual to a full circle.

The magnificent set of Nine Songs won Lee Ming-cho a Bessie Award in New York in 1996.

Lin Hwai-min: Founder and Artistic Director

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Editor: Jecey
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