Promis­ing Emerg­ing Arts

Ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with chi­nese con­tem­po­rary dance artistzhao­liang

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents -

CHINA PIC­TO­RIAL: What in­spired the cre­ation of The Tea Spell?

Zhao Liang: I’m not great at plan­ning and tend to fol­low my heart. A work is like a child, and I’d rather wait for them to come to me. I never imag­ined cre­at­ing any­thing based on tea. When I got to re­ally know tea cul­ture, I re­al­ized how won­der­ful tea is. The orig­i­nal power of “tea” has al­ready mixed with ori­en­tal cul­ture and the world as a whole.

CP: Why did you choose to fuse var­i­ous el­e­ments like Chi­nese Kung Fu, tra­di­tional Chi­nese opera and Ja­panese Noh?

Zhao: Dance it­self is ex­pres­sion with bod­ies and doesn’t need that many la­bels. La­bels are used to de­fine art bet­ter, not to la­bel any­thing clearly known. There shouldn’t be any limit on art. Ev­ery­thing in the world is re­lated to each other. Artis­tic ex­pres­sion is a means to pro­mote one­self, tran­scend one­self and con­nect with ev­ery­thing in the world. As more and more art works that tran­scend dif­fer­ent ar­eas have emerged, I be­lieve we will see an in­creas­ing num­ber of these kinds of works.

CP: What kind of ori­en­tal aes­thet­ics does The Tea Spell de­liver? How does it at­tract for­eign spec­ta­tors?

Zhao: So- called “ori­en­tal aes­thet­ics” is too vague a con­cep­tion. Ev­ery per­son can only rep­re­sent him­self or her­self. With the la­bel of “ori­en­tal aes­thet­ics” stripped, The Tea Spell adopts pop­u­lar meth­ods of artis­tic ex­pres­sion. Chi­nese spec­ta­tors will find it pi­o­neer­ing, while west­ern au­di­ences find it fan­tas­tic be­cause they have never be­fore seen such a per­for­mance and can’t name it.

I never worry that for­eign spec­ta­tors will have a hard time un­der­stand­ing my work be­cause art is uni­ver­sally in­ter­linked. As the cre­ator, I don’t de­fine my work. The au­di­ence will of­fer their own an­swers ac­cord­ing to their ex­pe­ri­ence and un­der­stand­ing. The au­di­ence and the cre­ator are in­ter­ac­tioned but free.

West­ern au­di­ences are un­fa­mil­iar with the sys­tem of ori­en­tal aes­thet­ics. Our gen­er­a­tion doesn’t need to com­ply with or play up to west­ern aes­thet­ics. In­stead, we should ques­tion and con­verse with the cul­ture and the tra­di­tion in our blood. Some­thing that can­not be de­fined eas­ily to­day is per­haps what we need most.

CP: What do you think of the re­la­tion be­tween tra­di­tion and moder­nity? What en­light­en­ment can The Tea Spell bring to mod­ern Chi­nese dance?

Zhao: Tra­di­tion doesn’t al­ways re­main un­changed. It ab­sorbs el­e­ments of ev­ery age and ev­ery event and con­tin­ues to ex­ist. If some­thing sur­vives gen­er­a­tions and still ex­ists, it has to keep ab­sorb­ing and evolv­ing. This is what in­her­it­ing is all about.

In fact, el­e­ments from all kinds of art can be com­bined. Through this very se­ries of op­eras in­clud­ing The Tea Spell, I want to show oth­ers that mod­ern dance can be pre­sented in this way. We not only feel our bod­ies move our own way, but also con­nect with the ma­te­rial world through dif­fer­ent meth­ods.

Zhao Liang has paved a unique road to mod­ern ex­pres­sion through Chi­nese dance. by Wang Pengfei

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.