Princess paint­ing be­comes new dance show

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By CHEN­NAN

Leg­ends say that a Chi­nese princess se­cretly took the silk­mak­ing tech­nol­ogy out of the coun­try to her hus­band, the king of an­cient Khotan.

The story is elab­o­rated in a wood­cut paint­ing that is around 1,400 years old. It’s known as the Legend of the Silk Princess and it is now in the Bri­tish Mu­seum after be­ing found in a Bud­dhist shrine in mod­ern-day Hotan, Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

The story has been adapted into a dance drama Silk Princess by the Xi’an Song and Dance En­sem­ble, which pre­miered in Xi’an, the cap­i­tal of Shaanxi prov­ince, in March.

The dance drama will be staged at the Na­tional Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts in Bei­jing this week­end.

“We con­sid­ered dif­fer­ent art forms to tell the story of the Silk Princess, and dance drama, which breaks the bar­rier of lan­guage, is the most suit­able form,” says the di­rec­tor Zuo Qing.

This was just one of many sto­ries from the Silk Road, where silk and other goods were traded along this an­cient route that connected China with Europe.

Zuo, a Shaanxi na­tive who has di­rected many na­tional galas, hopes to use the legend to do more than just ex­plain how the se­crets of silk pro­duc­tion, a Chi­nese mo­nop­oly for thou­sands of years, spread along the an­cient trade route. He’s also ea­ger to in­tro­duce au­di­ences to the lively char­ac­ters who were the most im­por­tant part of the Silk Road.

Ac­cord­ing to Fang Ming, the man­ager of the en­sem­ble, prepa­ra­tions for Silk Princess took three years. The en­sem­ble was founded in 1959 and is known for pre­sent­ing stage pro­duc­tions with dis­tinc­tive Shaanxi lo­cal cul­ture.

The pro­duc­tion team de­signed the stage set with el­e­ments from the Tang Dy­nasty (AD 618-907). The dance drama com­bines tra­di­tional Chi­nese folk dance and con­tem­po­rary dance.

LIU HAIDONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Silk Road Princess com­bines Chi­nese folk dance and con­tem­po­rary dance.

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