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Iconic dancer Yang Liping brings grand production to Edinburgh

By WANG MINGJIE | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-08-21 14:29

The production uses Tibetan symbols of nature. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

One of China's most iconic dancers, Yang Liping, will bring her version of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring to the Edinburgh International Festival this week, offering spectators a new interpretation that draws on symbols of nature from China and it's Tibet autonomous region.

The production, which blends Chinese folk dance with contemporary choreography while using Stravinsky's original music and a specially created new score inspired by traditional Chinese music, will be staged at the Edinburgh Playhouse from Thursday to Saturday.

Yang said: "The Rite of Spring is such a grand and challenging piece of music that it would undoubtedly be a milestone achievement for any choreographer to create his or her version, and I am so glad to take up the challenge".

A household name in China, Yang descends from the Bai ethnic group out of Dali, Yunnan province. She is a first-class national dancer, and the vice-chairman of the China Dancers Association.

A lover of dance from early childhood, Yang never underwent any formal training, but with her natural talent became a unique and distinguished performer. She won nationwide fame for her first original dance piece Spirit of the Peacock in 1986.

Since then, Yang's performances have received huge acclaim, both in China and internationally. The Rite of Spring is her second contemporary dance piece following the success of her previous work Under Siege, which received widespread critical acclaim at its European premiere in London in 2016.

In her reworking of The Rite of Spring, Yang said she incorporated multiple Chinese elements, predominantly Tibetan culture, with which she believes Western audiences can easily resonate."Because we human beings have a lot in common," she said, "we share the same human nature, and there is no boundary for human emotions such as love, hatred, birth, death, desire, dedication and sacrifice."

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