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Young talent shines at national ballet workshop

By Zhang Boning | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-16 10:27
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Dancers for the ballets I Owe My Father a Hug rehearse for the upcoming eighth workshop of the National Ballet of China. The annual event that gives young choreographers an opportunity to design original ballet scenarios will include five new creations this year.[Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

It took Su about a month to conceive and choreograph the work that reflects his understanding of parenthood.

The ballerina represents Su as a child while the male dancer plays the father's role. In the story, the veil which almost blinds the ballerina, had prevented the child from seeing her father even if they were just inches away from each other. Once the story moves on, the child takes off the veil and finally gets close enough to her father to give him a hug.

Su uses the cloth as a symbol of the child's bias. He says bias, though vague, is what sets the child and the father apart. The child, just like the choreographer himself, later realizes that the father was always around but once her bias is abandoned, the veil drops off.

At the workshop, another young Chinese choreographer, Li Yang, tells the story of a couple from the Uygur ethnic group through his work Scalding Flowers. In the ballet, a young soldier had made a commitment to his girlfriend that he would return home and marry her when the flowers in their hometown next bloom. But he died on the battlefield.

Li says he was inspired by a man who told him that although life can't always be happy, the Uygur people tend to share their joy and sorrow through song and dance.

In Scalding Flowers, a variety of Uygur dance movements have been adopted. The male dancers even roar and slap the ground to the beat of the hand drum, or daf. The female dancers spin around on their toes. When the melody comes to a stop, the dancers pass on a flower silently from one to another, as if they are sharing the gratification that comes with love.

Other works at the workshop include Carps Leaping Through the Dragon's Gate by Li Jun, Homeward Journey by Zhang Zhenxin and Treasure of Memories by Slovakian choreographer Natalia Horecna. The music for Treasure of Memories was taken from the original ballet scenario The Crane Whisperer by the National Ballet of China. Horecna fell for the music when she watched the show in Hamburg, Germany. She asked Feng Ying, president of the National Ballet of China, whether she could choreograph a new dance to the music.

"I said, 'Of course,'" recalls Feng.

Feng says she also wanted to work with overseas artists and make the show more meaningful on a worldwide level.

Treasure of Memories, along with the other shows presented at the workshop, will make their debuts at the Tianqiao Theater in Beijing over April 3-4.

Zhang Boning contributed to the story.


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