Chinese dancers portray love, war and resilience on US stage

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CGTN, February 7, 2018
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It is a story about a love that cannot be, in a time that cannot be forgotten. He Liunian is a traditional Confucian scholar who promised his dying father that he would compose a classical Cantonese masterpiece. The music he eventually composes plays throughout the performance.

He Liunian also promised his father that he would wed Pan Hongying as part of an arranged marriage. But He Liunian is, in fact, in love with someone else. Xu Chunling is an educator and a modern woman who shares his passion for music.

The story is set in 1930s Japanese-occupied China. It is a period few in the West know much about.

In one of the final acts, one leading Japanese colonel, known for collecting precious musical instruments and his fondness of Cantonese music, demands to hear He Liunian's composition. Even though He's wife, Pan, knows she is not his muse – she's seen his love for Xu – she leaps towards to colonel. She tries to save his life's work from Japanese hands by giving her own life. Her stage death marks one of the shows several emotional peaks.

"I think human emotions are universal," says Li Xing, who plays the role of He Liunian. "Everyone, no matter what country you're from – when you face disaster or happiness – you feel it the same."

Like the other performers on stage, Li Xing does not speak. But he does let out a great big moan when his wife, Pan, is stabbed while trying to protect his work. "As a dancer," Li Xing says, "it's easy to just deliver emotions. What's harder here is that the origin of these emotions – the grief, the sorrow – is based on a true story."

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