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Dance films by veteran dancer, choreographer wow audiences

By Chen Nan | | Updated: 2023-02-16 13:39
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Three dance films by the veteran dancer-choreographer Yang Liping were screened in Kunming, Yunnan province on Feb 13.

The three dance films: Yutu and Chang'e, The Tiger's Roar and Spring Ox Picture, are some of Yang's projects based on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Yutu and Chang'e, which was released on Jan 23, the first day of Lunar New Year, runs for about 10 minutes, and features dancers Chen Tiantian and Xiao Yi as the leading roles: Yutu, also known as the jade rabbit, and Chang'e. It was inspired by Chinese folklore about the goddess Chang'e living on the moon accompanied by the jade rabbit. The latest dance film also has singer-songwriter Li Yugang performing the theme song.

Like Yang's previous two dance films, The Tiger's Roar, which was released in 2022, and Spring Ox Picture, which was released in 2021, Yutu and Chang'combines Yang's choreography with movie technology, offering the audience a visual feast.

As Yang said when the films are released online, they will reach a broader audience, who will gain a fresh perspective about dance.

During an interview Yang did in 2022 after releasing the dance film The Tiger's Roar, when many of her shows were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Yang said: "For me, it (making dance films) is an experiment. I want to know how far it can go and how people react to it-watching dance movements on their screens instead of enjoying dance shows in-person."

Yang Liping became known as the "peacock princess" after her 1986 award-winning dance piece, Spirit of the Peacock, a work inspired by the lithe and graceful hand movements of the bird-related dance of the ethnic Bai people in Yunnan province.

A Yunnan native and a member of Bai ethnic group, Yang joined the Xishuangbanna Song and Dance Ensemble in 1971 as a dancer when she was 13 years old.

She left her hometown and performed at grand theaters and festivals in China and overseas, as well as won a number of awards. In 2003, she decided to return to villages in Yunnan to study local dances and folk songs, which she calls "going back to her roots".

As an artistic director, a choreographer and leading dancer, Yang gathered folk artists from Yunnan, such as singers, dancers and instrumentalists, to perform in the theatrical production, Dynamic Yunnan, which has been staged more than 7,000 times. Later, she continued to choreograph more than 10 stage productions, including Tibetan Myth, Under Siege and The Rite of Spring.

Video provided by Yunnan Yang Liping Arts & Culture Co., Ltd.

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