At the Sadler's Well Theater in London recently, all eyes were on the Chinese style of dance. Directed by China's iconic choreographer and dancer Yang Liping, known as the peacock princess, performances of the Rite of Spring invited audiences to experience a unique combination of Western art classics and Eastern wisdom, philosophy and aesthetics.
Three performances at the Sadler's Well Theater, in front of packed audiences, received raving reviews over Yang Liping's performance.
One audience member said: "After the show, I felt like I was reborn,
experiencing the whole process of reincarnation. I've seen many versions of the dance drama – the Rite of Spring, and I was touched and sad, too. But Yang's version helped me find that inner peace. And from the tears of joy, I finally experienced that kind of inner satisfaction taught in Buddhism."
Yang Liping is a household name in China as an accomplished dancer, with a long and stellar career. She said she used her stage aesthetics to develop a dialogue with western classics.
"Stravinsky's music is pretty strong, while He Xuntian's soul music is quite the opposite. You also see characters in the six-word mantra, representing Tibetan Buddhism. Either spells or symbols, they explain our universe. I think our angle is to combine these Chinese philosophies with western classics," she added.
Since 1913 when the Rite of Spring debuted at the Paris Theater, a period of over a century has witnessed 400 different versions of the shows staged all over the globe. In fact, the Rite of Spring has become a touchstone to test the talent of artists.
For Yang Liping, the London debut of her version is only the beginning of her international tour of the show. She's scheduled to deliver more than 100 performances in cities including Toronto, New York, and Amsterdam.