2019 House Programs Rite of Spring | Page 10

for Rite promises elaborate headdresses and a shaggy-masked shaman, thousands of bricks in the shape of Chinese characters and a glowing, golden Tibetan bowl floating at the back of the stage. “The stage set also selects elements from Buddhist philosophy,” Yang explains. “It incorporates the entire universe on stage. It’s like the intersection between Yin and Yang, between heaven and hell. The main character in the piece is sent to test people on earth, to see if they are ready to reach the next level. They have to pray and sacrifice themselves to reach the ideal state, represented by the golden bowl.” “When Yang starts telling a story, she always has a lot of ideas she wants to put on stage,” says Nathan Wang, Executive Director of Yang’s company. “The body language, the visual and musical language—every element is important to her. She wants every moment to have an impact.” This mission includes trying to reach as many people as possible. Contemporary dance in China has only a relatively small following, Wang explains, while large–scale productions often promote pro-government messages. “Younger people especially want to see something emotional, pure art productions that are not politically driven. We’re planning at least 100 performances of The Rite in China. Everybody can connect to it.” He continues, “it’s challenging, when there are already dozens of productions of The Rite of Spring. But we wanted to bring a truly Chinese version to international audiences.” — David Jays David Jays writes for the Sunday Times and The Guardian, and is editor of Dance Gazette @mrdavidjays So what does Yang hope the audience will take away from her Rite? “For any artist, the ultimate goal is that the work will communicate her own culture, through a universal language accessible to anyone in the world. The work itself is not the most important thing—rather, it is for audiences to understand how people in another part of the world live their lives and strive for happiness.”