When you see Zhao Qing for the first time, you will never believe that she is nearly 70 years old. Dancing keeps her special charm and young appearance. Her silvery voice and various expressions can put you in a happy mood. And now, let's take a closer look at her.
Zhao Qing is a great dancer of international fame, the pioneer of Chinese dance drama and the vice president of the Chinese Dancers' Association. Born in Shanghai, she began studying ballet as a child, and was influenced greatly by her father, Zhao Dan, a famous movie star in China in the 20th century. After graduating from Beijing Dance Academy with excellent marks, she began her dance career. Her first success came in China's first grand dance drama, Lotus Lantern, in which she was the leading actress. That performance won her wide acclaim, and she was invited to many countries, including Russia, Poland, Britain, France, Japan and America. Her other films include Xiaodao Hui, The Ode of Eight Women, The Raging Congo River, Sword, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, to name a few. In addition, she has been producing dance dramas throughout her career.
Fuxi and Nuwa for the 2008 Olympic Games
Fuwa is the mascot for the 2008 Olympics, and according to Jia Qinglin, the Chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, the name Fuwa is the partial tone of "FuWa", the abbreviation of Fuxi and Nuwa. Since the Chinese nation is the offspring of Fuxi and Nuwa, the name Fuwa has a national characteristic. To celebrate the Olympics, Zhao Qing is composing a grand song and dance drama about Fuxi and Nuwa, and has been working on the project for almost 10 years.
The legend of Fuxi and Nuwa comes from the most ancient masterpiece about Chinese mythology, Shanhaijing (The Classic of Mountains and Seas). To develop the traditional art for her production, Zhao Qing is going to produce it in the form of Chinese traditional song and dance drama.
As one of the pioneers and founders of Chinese dance drama, Zhao Qing is the best person for the production of such a drama. In fact, before the planning was finished, the drama got many artists' support with the participation of the talented writer Wei Minglun, the famous painter Chen Zui and the composer of The Butterfly Lovers Chen Gang. With these masters participating, Zhao Qing is very confident in the drama, and is working hard and trying her best to make it perfect. She even draws the sets' paintings herself.
The Ambassador of Dance for New China
With her great achievements in dance, Zhao Qing used to be honored as the ambassador of dance for new China. At that time, she and Guo Lanying were regarded as the two pillar actresses of China Song & Dance Theater and she was invited to more than 20 countries for performance. She never ceased her pursuit of art. Now she finds enjoyment in all kinds of activities related to dance, such as dance planning, editing and commenting.
Zhao Qing is obsessed with Chinese folk dance. Her teacher Dai Ailian once told her, "Learning from the western culture doesn't mean westernization and we must develop our national culture." Zhao Qing has never forgotten this edification. Talking about the future of Chinese dance, she said, "There are 56 minority peoples in China from which we can develop many kinds of dance. And the 5000-year civilization of China provides an abundant culture element. So I'm very confident about Chinese dance."
However, Zhao Qing is disappointed about some of today's popular dances. "Many folk dances are turned into the likes of Egyptian dace, losing their own flavor," she said. "And dance goes with all kinds of programs, which are always the same. Fortunately, there are still some dancers who are looking for the real national things."
My Father Zhao Dan and I - A Heart for Thanksgiving
Last year was the 90th anniversary of Zhao Dan's birth, and CCTV is going to film The Biography of Zhao Dan, which is adapted from Zhao Qing's book My Father Zhao Dan and I.
The book describes Zhao Dan as a father from the perspective of Zhao Qing. However, it was difficult for Zhao Qing to adapt the book into a play, and it took her seven years to finish the adaptation because the play not only tells about Zhao Dan, but also about many other famous people of his time, such as Zhou Enlai, Jin Shan, Wang Weiyi, and Nie Er. "I must write about them," Zhao Qing said, "because only with their help could my father achieve so much. And all of my family will never forget them. Therefore, I want to praise them through the play about my father."
(chinaculture June 26, 2006)