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China Arts and Entertainment Group Presents the China Gansu Dance Theater in "Silk Road" at Koch Theater
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China Arts and Entertainment Group Presents the China Gansu Dance Theater in "Silk Road" at Koch Theater

- Classical and Cultural Connections: Arts and Education


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China Arts and Entertainment Group
(China Arts Website)
Presents:

Silk Road

Performed by:
China Gansu Dance Theater

Artistic Supervisor: Feng Shuangbai
Artistic Director: Lu Jinlong
Chief Director: Shen Chen
Chief Director: Xu Chenghua
Music Adaptation/Orchestration: Du Ming
Stage Designer: Long Hua
Lighting Designer: Wu Wei
Stage Manager: Zhang Ji
Music Director: Yang Yibing

Performed by:
Yingniang: Chen Chen
Painter Shenbi Zhang: An Ning
Bandit Dou Hu: Song Yulong
Yunus: Huang Deshuang

At the
David H. Koch Theater
www.lincolncenter.org

Press: Kevin P. McAnarney/KPM Associates

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 2, 2013


What I came away with, after this six act, plus “prelude” and “finale”, production of Silk Road, was an impressive sense of artistry, as this sizable dance company, China Gansu Dance Theater, is a cultural ambassador to educate the West about music and dance of the Dunhuang culture. Although they did not bring an orchestra with them, the acoustics at Koch Theater are now excellent, and the recorded music for each act was enchanting. The story of Silk Road opens with a scene of Buddha statues at Sanwei Mountain (all the silken and embroidered backdrops are exquisite). The time setting of the tale is the Tang Dynasty on the Silk Road, where Shenbi Zhang (An Ning), a painter, and his daughter, Yingniang (Chen Chen), save Yunis (Huang Deshuang), a dying Persian businessman, while he walks the desert. Yingniang is abducted by bandits, led by Dou Hu (Song Yulong), as she tries to save Yunus. The plot proceeds to find the daughter as a performing geisha in a troupe, where the businessman pays to free her. The father is forced to paint frescos for life, and so on.

As each storyline takes a turn, seven times, before the finale, the scenery, costumes, and choreography shift. The choreography, lighting, and costumes are what make the show, as the plot lines are somewhat vague and secondary. The geisha performance, with gold fingers and headpieces, is gripping, as the dancers huddle for a surreal, golden image. Another scene unfolds in a lush garden, with exotic, colorful silks. A belly dance inspired segment is repeated later on with differently colored costumes. The visual imagery was incomparable, like wandering into an Asian fabric store, with gold overlay on reds, pinks, purples. Chen Chen, as Yingniang, danced with her ballet legs stretching straight over her head. She even swung endless ribbon fabric into captivating swirls. Song Yulong, with his billowy costume and dagger, performed backwards en air tumbling and half cartwheels that defied gravity. The ensemble choreography always danced toward a photo finish, quite symmetrical, with seamless motion.

Since there was no orchestra, the pit was covered with wood, and the entire company, one at a time, and then together, whirled about, just a few feet from the audience. One star even threw a bouquet into the front rows. The audience was mixed, with many there for cultural communion, and the company received vocal accolades. This was more than theater and more than ballet. It was a fascinating voyage through sets, drama, costumes, and dance to a faraway land at a time long ago. Kudos to China Arts and Entertainment Group.



China Gansu Dance Theater
in "Silk Road"
Courtesy of China Arts and Entertainment Group



China Gansu Dance Theater
in "Silk Road"
Courtesy of China Arts and Entertainment Group



China Gansu Dance Theater
in "Silk Road"
Courtesy of China Arts and Entertainment Group



China Gansu Dance Theater
in "Silk Road"
Courtesy of China Arts and Entertainment Group



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net