Modern dance fans are in for a treat this Christmas. Zhang Yashu, the lead dancer of the Shenzhen Opera and Dance Theater (SZODT), will present her first dance drama at the Shenzhen Poly Theater on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.
The cast and crew members of “Feb. 3, Sunny” in a press conference on Tuesday in Shenzhen. Courtesy of Shenzhen Poly Theater
“There are moments when we open a book, read other people’s stories, and then think about our own life,” said the dancer at a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. “I hope my new stage work will lead the audience to such moments.”
Named “Feb. 3, Sunny,” the show is an effort of the award-winning dancer to catch the most current trends in modern dance by adding words, drama and videos to her stage. “I had intended to name the show ‘Sweet Dreams in the Garden,’ since the five-part show centers around my dreams and subconsciousness. Then, on second thought, I chose the current title, hoping it can reach out to the audience more easily, as I’m inviting them to read my diary about those dreams,” she said.
In the show, Zhang will pay tribute to past masters like Pina Bausch and Vaslav Nijinsky, talking with them in her dreams and trying to find her own path in the world. “Every dancer wishes to be as talented as Nijinsky and as innovative as Isadora Duncan, as do I,” she said. “But after many years of hard training, I came to the realization that I may not be as great as them, which, however, doesn’t stop me from being unique and perfect in my own way.”
In a snippet Zhang performed during the news briefing, she gave a glimpse into the new work. In a few moves, she showed a small audience a natural flow of sequences vividly mimicking a woman putting on perfume and then being tickled by the strong smell into a sneeze. A little humorous, her showcase was full of freedom and power.
Feb. 3 next year is the Beginning of Spring, the first solar term of a year, and the dancer said she hopes the audience can resonate with her show and find their own unique values in this diverse world.
Contemporary artist and photographer Ma Liang is serving as the stage designer. With installations and a video echoing the performance, he promises to transform the stage into a dreamlike space, which is also a metaphor for a cage, a room and the world.
Wang Yin, an award-winning poet who has published many works, is the scriptwriter of the show. “Many may doubt the necessity for having a scriptwriter in a dance show, whose priority is always to have a good choreographer. It’s an experiment for both Zhang and me, and I hope I can add a little more depth and literary beauty to the show,” he said.
Yu Erge, also a dancer and good friend of Zhang since childhood, will choreograph together with Zhang. Jiang Weixin is providing the music and Liu Tongchun acts as lighting designer. Jiang Hua, the chief fashion designer of the Hong Kong brand OBEG, will provide the costumes.
Zhang, born 1987 in a family of dancers in southwestern Sichuan Province, started to dance at 7. While a student at the then Sichuan Dance School (renamed Sichuan Vocational College of Art in 2005), she won the gold prize in the 7th Taoli Cup National Dance Competition in 2003. In 2014, she became the first runner-up in the Zhejiang Satellite TV competition show “So You Think You Can Dance.” Zhang acted as lead in many dance shows including “Dream Seekers” produced by SZODT last year. She was previously a dancer with the Wuxi Song and Dance Theater.
Young dancers Zhang Jiakai, Li Jianting, Lyu Shaojun and Li Hongxi of SZODT will perform.
Tickets: 180-580 yuan
Dates: Dec. 24, 25
Venue: Shenzhen Poly Theater, Nanshan District (南山区深圳保利剧院)
Metro: Line 2 or 11 to Houhai Station (后海站), Exit E