Culture\Events and Festivals

A two-way exchange of art

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-11-05 05:50

A two-way exchange of art

Dancers perform during the Magic Flute showcase at CSIAF.

International collaborations

The CSIAF has worked with Polish theatrical master Krystian Lupa to create The Alcoholic, which is based on a play by late Chinese author Shi Tiesheng. The five-hour production was presented at the Shanghai Theatre Academy Experimental Theatre and starred renowned actor Wang Xuebing.

This is the first time that the 72-year-old Lupa, who has been dubbed "the greatest European living theater director" by the culture congress of EU, has worked on a Chinese play. His previous creations such as Woodcutters and Heroes Square won high praise in China.

"We wish to tell this story from China in a global vocabulary and create a dialogue that breaks the boundaries of time, nationality or field," said Wang Jun, president of the CSIAF organizing committee.

Lupa said that he was fascinated with the author and the spiritual struggle reflected in his writing and real life. By combining details in Shi's other writing, Lupa managed to integrate the author's life story to the play.

Besides theater shows and free outdoor performances at designated squares, artists also participated in the annual trade fair at the CSIAF to promote their upcoming projects for buyers home and abroad. This year, the fair took place at the InterContinental Hotel Shanghai Puxi from Oct 19 to 23, and was attended by more than 500 institutions from 60 countries and regions.

During the fair, renowned dancer and choreographer Yang Liping performed a preview of the upcoming production The Rite of Spring, which is jointly commissioned by the CSIAF and Sadler's Wells, a dance theater in London. Representatives of the dance theater who attended the fair praised Yang's "loyalty to her own tradition" as well as her brave approach to contemporary theater.

Last year, Yang premiered Under Seige, her first dance theater creation based on the legendary battle between Xiang Yu and Liu Bang (206 - 203 BC), during the CSIAF. The performance went on to receive acclaim around the world, with the Financial Times praising the choreography as "a mad, mercurial mix of tai chi, kung fu, ballet, hip-hop and Peking opera acrobatics".

Impressed by Under Seige, Sadler's Wells commissioned Yang to create her interpretation of The Rite of Spring, a classical piece by Igor Stravinsky.

"The original music has lots of mythical and pagan elements, which widely exists in my culture too," said Yang, who hails from the Bai ethnic group from Yunnan province.

Yang added that she will be integrating traditional rituals of Tibetan Buddhism, the lion dance and other traditional elements into The Rite of Spring, which will premiere in Yunnan in 2018 before going on tour in Europe.

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