Celebrating the beauty of aging

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Retired ballet dancers, Liu Guilin, 59, and Cao Zhiguang, 82, present a piece created by Wang Mengfan in Shanghai.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"It was a beautiful process. Nobody has paid so much attention to my body before she taught me to do so."

Wen Shengyu was among the dancers in Wang's 2018 creation The Divine Sewing Machine, who can attest to her unusual methods.

"At that time, I played with other kids on the stage, and we made all kinds of things with fabrics," says the 14-year-old. "Wang's work was different from other theaters. We didn't know our moves. We also didn't know how we should interact with other kids."

This time around, Wen participated as an audience member with his mother, who conceded that she was moved by the elderly dancers' performance.

"They say muscles have stronger memories than the human brain, and I can still see the beauty of their muscles and body lines," she says.

The performance also hit close to home for 65-year-old Zhang Qian, another member of the audience.

"I was very stricken. The dancers brought out so many memories that reminded me of my own life and existence. I never expected to see a performance so close to my heart."

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