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IMAGE CHINA — Chinese dance drama ‘Soaring Wings’ makes US debut

Print Share Updated: 2018-02-26 13:46


The Chinese dance drama Soaring Wings: Journey of the Crested Ibis premiered on Jan 5-7, 2018, at the David H. Koch Theater in New York's Lincoln Center, and was then presented at the Shubert Theater in the Boch Center, Boston on Jan 11 and 12.


Produced by the Shanghai Dance Theater, the internationally award-winning dance drama explores the fate of the crested ibis, "the bird of good fortune," and the interdependence between human beings and nature.


The story focuses on environmental protection for the rare bird species. Centuries ago, human beings lived in harmony with these birds - reserved, elegant, sacred and noble, yet also vulnerable and occasionally distant. With modernization and urbanization, however, the living environment of the crested ibis began to deteriorate and in the middle of the 20th century the species was declared endangered.


"We establish the beauty of the bird and its habitat, destroy it and re-establish it in our drama in order to present to our audience the significance of protecting our Mother Earth," said Tong Ruirui, director and choreographer of the ballet drama. She added that the crested ibis is a symbol, representing mankind's pursuit of harmonious coexistence with all other species.


The leading dancer Zhu Jiejing said the choreographic language in the drama is unique as it combines ballet techniques and body movements that are typical in classical Chinese dance, and also includes movements imitating crested ibises.


Members of the audience called the dancers' embodiment of the birds impressive, with many US newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, recommending or mentioning the dance drama in their reports.


Since its premiere on October 7, 2014, the show has been produced nearly 200 times around Asia, and honored with many awards in China.


Soaring Wings is a part of China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG) ’s Image China cultural exchange initiative, which seeks to introduce traditional and contemporary Chinese performing arts to audiences around the world. Since its inception in 2009, Image China has presented works at many international venues, including the Lincoln Center in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and theaters throughout Europe and Australia. Its recent productions include Confucius, Dragon Boat Racing and The Legend of Mulan.