Embodying the Dynamism of Contemporary Dance, The Moon Opera Transforms the Body into a Language of the Soul

The Moon Opera, of the Yabin and Her Friends series created by dancer Wang Yabin together with local and foreign artists, will be staged at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing in early October

Aug 20, 2015, 07:09 ET from Yabin Studio

BEIJING, August 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Announced today by the creative team of Yabin and Her Friends' seventh season, theatrical dance The Moon Opera - created by Chinese dancer and choreographer Wang Yabin - will have its world premiere at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on October 4-6, 2015, and is also to be staged at the Shanghai International Arts Festival on October 19-20.

As the outcome of Yabin and Her Friends's seventh season, a project funded by the China National Arts Fund for 2014 and commissioned by the 2015 Shanghai International Arts Festival as part of the Young Artists Initiative, The Moon Opera was created and produced by Yabin Dance Studio and co-produced by Jiangsu Province Performing Arts Group Co., Ltd. Adapted from a novel of the same title by celebrated Chinese contemporary author Bi Feiyu, the project is directed, choreographed and starred by Wang Yabin. In adherence to the mission established in 2009 of "uniting local and foreign talents to create and perform," Yabin Studio has invited experts and talents  from around the world to contribute: well-known Chinese virtuoso opera singer  and artist Pei Yanling as Peking Opera advisor; Chinese composer Guo Sida and Polish composer Olga Wojciechowska, the latter of whom has previously worked with Yabin Studios in composing the score for Genesis produced by Yabin Studio in 2013; Kimie Nakano from the world-famous Akram Khan Dance Troupe as costume-designer; Matt Deely as set designer; and lighting designer Wiley Cessa. Wang Yabin herself is main choreographer, but worked in collaboration with fellow choreographers Fan Lei and Zhang Zhi, and top Chinese dancers Li Xing, Shan Sihan, Bi Ran, Qian Kun and Wang Mingchao.

"As contemporary dance evolves, the challenge facing both myself and contemporary Chinese choreographers is to maintain an international outlook-creating art that is both in-step with and communicable to dance communities worldwide-while striving to encapsulate dance as the corporeal language of the soul," says Wang Yabin, producer of The Moon Opera, in a press conference. "It is such insights that allow Yabin Studio as an independent private dance studio to unite the best resources at home and abroad to produce three dance dramas Genesis, Dream in Three Episodes and The Moon Opera over the past seven years. In addition to the rights of these three dance dramas, Yabin Studio also owns those of other dances created by top-class Chinese and foreign choreographers over the past seven years; these include Seeking, Vanished Body, Overnight Drizzle, and A World Apart. With over a hundred dancers and artists participating in Yabin and Her Friends, such works not only enrich Chinese dance creatively but also places it on the world stage, promoting its inclusion to the international art scene."

Adapting The Moon Opera to dance has been Wang Yabin's dream for many years, not only due to the engrossing nature of Bi Feiyu's novel but also because in it, she discovered the central theme of "where to pin one's life" - a question on which everyone, Wang believes, should ponder. Xiao Yanqiu pinned hers on Qing Yi (a traditional Chinese theatrical figure usually clothed in black), but Wang herself pins her life on the art of dance. In dance she sees the "pain of life", which, she says, teaches one endurance and how to face those we love. 

This piece is the first directed by Wang Yabin, and despite the large amount of effort put into its preparations, the dance is a work of minimalism. Offering a more pronounced flexibility and depth than the novel, The Moon Opera presents a panoramic experience by means of a new, audio-visual language.

 The narrative structure of dialogue will challenge the viewers' imagination, as will the co-existence of 'reality' with 'dreams', and the 'subconscious' with the 'surreal'. Such mental processes - the constant cognitive attempts to rationalize and make sense - are the determinants of the story's development and the show's dynamism. In the meantime, how each individual in various contradictions reads the self to constantly recognize, understand, explain and show this logic among us is exactly what makes the art creation so attractive and make the art work so appealing.

Mr. Li Zhixiang, Deputy Director of NCPA said, "NCPA, as the most important venue in the world for performing artists, has been actively engaged in supporting innovation and creativity by young artists in China as well as the world. We have been paying attention and provided venue for 4 times in the past years for Yabin & Her Friends. Their performances are among our feature events and we have a lot of respect for Yabin and other artists she worked with... We sincerely wish that NCPA will remain as a trustworthy and reliable partner to all artists who, like Yabin, has dreams in creating more and better arts work every year."

Mr. Fu Jun, Professor of Peking University, President of Harvard Club of Beijing, and formerly advisor to the President of the Executive Council of UNESCO, writes in the preface of  the Moon Opera for Wang Yabin: "The Moon Opera, which I'd rather call the 'moon dreamer', is a story about love. Set against the traditional Chinese classic opera of 'Chang'e Flying to the Moon', it tells a modern-day love story of a woman with a man constantly struggling between her dreams and harsh realities.  It is a tragedy rather than a comedy.

Cogito ergo sum. Unlike a comedy, the point of a tragedy is to make people think rather than relax -- to think seriously and deeply about what a better person one shall aspire to be and the values that person embodies toward the ultimate good. The point of this opera is about a relentless process of actualization that requires true love and unwavering dedication. There, a tragedy conveys the message better than a comedy.

People need art to inspire new ways of thinking, so that they might free themselves from the drudgery and the gloom they would otherwise feel in a meaningless passage of time. Here, Friedrich Nietzsche reminds us philosophically: 'We would consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.'

Thus, the Moon Opera can also be interpreted as a call for innovations and new ways of thinking. As such, it is not merely a story of one individual, it is a story about all of us. Ask yourself: How many times have you also struggled between dreams and realities? How many times have you succeeded or failed? And on what values do you judge success?"

Having debuted in 2009, Yabin and Her Friends will have had seven performances in total by the end of this year: Season One Dancing with You; Season Two Keeping Watch; Season Three Seeking; Season Four Triennial of Yabin and Her Friends; Season Five Genesis; Season Six Dream in Three Episodes; Season Seven The Moon Opera. As of early 2015, the number of total live viewers of the dance series has reached more than 100,000.

Profile of Wang Yabin:

Born in Tianjin, Wang Yabin started dancing at age nine, was trained in ballet and contemporary dance, and took classical dance as her university major. She is now a leading artist of the Beijing Dance Academy (BDA) Youth Dance Company, has won numerous gold medals in China's dance contests, and has also visited iconic theaters around the world - including the Lincoln Center in New York, Bolshoi Theatre, and Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland - to attend cultural exchanges and stage shows. Talented in both dancing and choreographing, Wang Yabin leads Yabin Studio in producing Yabin and Her Friends and dedicates a high level of persistence and quality to her work. In February 2015, at the invitation of Tamara Rojo, director of the English National Ballet, she choreographed She Said, a tribute to the world's great female dancers and to be debuted in Sadler's Wells Theatre in April 2016; she will be the first from China invited to choreograph in the English National Ballet.

In 2009, Wang Yabin opened her personal studio, Yabin Studio, which established Yabin and Her Friends as a brand series, creates one original dance every year, and hosts local, European and American choreographers to create new dances together. Yabin has been extensively well received from critics and artists, and has been hailed as the most innovative modern-dance choreographer, dancer and producer by Guangming Daily, China Daily, China Culture Daily and Dance Magazine. Wang Yabin was also named "One of the Most Important Asian Dancers" by Knack Focus magazine.

Wang Yabin is a dancer and choreographer clinging to the pursuit of dance art, a producer who promotes the dance art, and a strict, young specialized teacher of Beijing Dance Academy. In films and television programs, she's Wang Xiaomeng, a character with an iron hand in a velvet glove in Country Love, and she's Jin Yan, a character who's "reborn" for love in Blind Massage.

SOURCE Yabin Studio