Wild Grass grows out of banned performance

Updated: 2012-12-07 09:58

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Wild Grass grows out of banned performance

Choreographer Wang Yuanyuan and producer Han Jiang have created a dazzling dance show after their controversial The Golden Lotus was banned in China - and that's no coincidence. Chen Nan reports.

Wild Grass grows out of banned performance

Yang Liping's dance drama 'The Peacock' staged

Wild Grass grows out of banned performance

Peacock's last bow launches dance fest

The banning of the stage adaptation of the 16th-century Chinese novel Jin Ping Mei (The Golden Lotus) in 2011 turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

It prompted choreographer Wang Yuanyuan and the Beijing Dance Theater to divert their energies toward other projects.

Related: Pride of the peacock

The Golden Lotus is an adaptation of a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) novel - and one of China's most erotic works. Both the book and the stage production are banned for their explicit portrayals of sex and corruption in a decadent society.

"After we encountered the troubles brought by the banning of The Golden Lotus, we reflected upon and deliberated the challenges we face," Beijing Dance Theater producer and lighting designer Han Jiang says.

"It was painful. We felt helpless. Our plight reminded us of Lu Xun's Wild Grass."

Wild Grass is a 1927 prose poem collection.

Wang, who co-founded the troupe with Han in 2008, says: "The struggle for survival that Lu describes resonated with our experience. So, we wanted to use dance moves to portray the connection we feel with Wild Grass when we think about ourselves and our society."

"Usually, our shows in China only sell 40 percent of the seats, which is enough. But The Golden Lotus sold out before its tour," Wang adds.

"We didn't expect the overwhelming success or the troubles."

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