Peking Opera is one of the regional operas in China, maybe the most famous one, next to Kunqu, and yueju in the South. The content of the opera is always built around classical Chinese stories that the public knows very well. Every aspect of the opera is based on convention. A knowledgable Peking Opera public will get wildly enthusiastic when an actor performs well. Quite a different dynamic from a western public watching an opera or performance, patiently waiting until the end to start applauding.
I love it, the exciting music, the melancholic singing, the beauty of the gestures, the melodramatic feel of it.
With the focus of Europalia on China a number of fantastic Chinese performances could be seen in Belgium. Last week I saw one of the most beautiful dance performances I ever saw in my life. Strong images of rare beauty.
The pictures here are from the first part of the performance. It was made up of black and white. The choreography of the second part was originally made for the Venice Biennale. It comprised five single dancers who each performed a solo dance, with a beauty seldom seen. This show proves once again that Chinese culture has matured. A few decades ago, China looked at the West but those days are long gone. Art today in China is clearly rooted in Chinese tradition. The five dancers can be seen as referring to the five elements, staging five colors - blue, red, yellow, black and white, expressing a flower, an insect, a fish, grass and a bird. Especially the dances of the 'flower' and the 'bird' were absolutely fabulous. More pictures can be seen on the Beijing Modern Dance Company website.
Wayn Traub's 'Maria Magdalena': I saw it five times now and each time I discover new links, symbols and associations. Wayn - absolutely unbelievable he is! - in Paris Theatre de la ville at the moment. Zhao Zhibo, 赵知博, Chinese top dancer from the Beijing Dance Academy Youth Dance Troupe and 'Maria Magdalena' in Wayn's film here as a Chinese nun in front of the earth. Zhibo came over from Beijing to watch the show and was happily surprised!