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Dance drama honoring celebrated poet Su Dongpo comes to Hangzhou

Global Times| Updated: October 19, 2023 L M S


Photo: Courtesy of China Oriental Performing Arts Group

The China Oriental Performing Arts Group (COPAG), producers of the renowned dance drama Poetic Dance: The Journey of a Legendary Landscape Painting, will present their latest modern dance drama Shiyi Dongpo, or Poet Dongpo, immortalizing the renowned poet Su Dongpo, from October 18 to 20 in Hangzhou, a city where Su once lived.

The dance delves deep into Chinese classical philosophy and aesthetics, presenting traditions with a contemporary approach. It features music, dance, poems and paintings, blending traditional Chinese cultural elements such as calligraphy, stone carving, traditional Chinese operas and martial arts. A total of 15 masterpieces by Su are also displayed on the stage.

Through vibrant and affectionate performances by over 20 performers from COPAG, alongside internationally acclaimed dancers, the show portrays various aspects of the life of Su, also known as Su Shi, one of the most celebrated cultural figures in Chinese history.

On Wednesday evening, a press conference for the upcoming dance drama was held at the Zhejiang Art Museum.

Liu Peng, vice general manager of the COPAG, who is also executive producer of the show, said at the press conference that Su's spirit is an integral part of Chinese spirit and presenting it on stage is a tribute to China's 5,000-year-old traditional culture.

The performance features leading actors Su Peng and Wu Mengke, who, in a brief dance segment presented at the press conference, portrayed the love story between Su and his wife, Wang Fu. The performance conveyed the timeless nature of human relationships.

At the press conference, Wang Lu, general manager of the China Performing Arts Agency, a subsidiary of China Arts and Entertainment Group, announced that the dance will be a key component of their efforts to deepen collaboration in overseas markets. They plan to premiere the production in Europe and the US in 2024 as part of its global tour.

The world premiere of this highly anticipated performance took place in Shanghai in July. It is the latest creation from internationally renowned choreographer, dancer, painter and visual artist Shen Wei, whose work includes choreographing the opening segment, Scroll, at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Ceremony.

The COPAG developed mainly from the Central Song and Dance Troupe, which was established in December 1952, and the Oriental Song and Dance Troupe, which was established in January 1962. The group's widely acclaimed cultural and artistic works include The Splendor of China, Dance and Music Chinese Stories - Twelve Chinese Zodiacs, and Teacher Guimei, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

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