Mulan takes the stage in an all-new dance drama

Ti Gong

This is the first time Chinese heroine Mulan has been involved in a dance drama.

The award-winning dance drama “Mulan” will premiere at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center on September 1 and 2.

Mulan was a warrior of the Northern and Southern Dynasties of China (420-589 AD). Disguised as a man, she took her elderly father’s place in the army and fought for 12 years to earn great merit. But she refused any reward after the war and returned to her hometown.

Mulan’s story has been told in various genres, including film, ballet, and opera. But this is the first time that the Chinese heroine has been involved in a dance drama. Two female choreographers, Zhou Liya and Han Zhen, are responsible for this leap.

“It’s a story that everyone knows, so we needed a new innovation to highlight the characteristics of dance drama,” said Zhou, who also serves as a director with Han.

The directors revealed that the image of a “circle” can be seen throughout the dance drama.

“In our traditional culture, a circle represents reunion and a wish for perfection, which was applied to stage design, Zhou said. “But in war scenes, the audience will notice a broken circle.”

Mulan takes the stage in an all-new dance drama

Ti Gong

choreographers Zhou Liya (center) and Han Zhen (left)

A wushu (kungfu) fight between the two main characters is one of the highlights of the show.

“Usually you see a lot of lift in couple dances, and the female lead always seems to be sweet and beautiful,” Han said. “However, Mulan has a fair and strong character. Wushu combat is also a challenge for dancers who must conquer another method of body movement during practice.

Produced by the Ningbo Song Dance Theatre, the production won a Lotus Award at the 11th China National Dance Competition in 2018. The September 1 performance features the dancer from the National Opera of China and the Drama Dance Theater Hao Ruoqi, a graduate of the People’s Liberation Army Art School.

“She has an outgoing, childlike personality, which suits the role of Mulan well,” director Zhou said. “Traditional ballet dancers generally have very soft movements. For Hao, who is 1.76 meters tall and practices boxing as a hobby, playing Mulan is playing herself.

The performance is also part of the ongoing Pudong Arts and Culture Festival.

Performance Information

Date: September 1 and 2, 7:15 p.m.

Tickets: 80-480 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center

Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong New Area

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