Yang Liping makes grand return to Shanghai with masterpiece 'The Peacock'
Yang Liping is back in Shanghai with her dance drama "The Peacock."
The well-known Chinese performer and choreographer also responded to controversial debates regarding the costumes of the dancers.
The peacock dance is one of the traditional dances of the Dai ethnic community in Yang's home province of Yunnan in southwest China.
The four chapters of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter in "The Peacock" illustrate the circle of life and nature through peacock tales. The performance took place in Shanghai last winter.
"Peacocks represent beauty," Yang said. "People's affection for the peacock symbolizes their ultimate desire and pursuit of beauty."
Young dancers Xiao Ronghao and Wang Silong play the female and male leads, respectively. Yang will make an appearance in the final chapter, Winter.
"This chapter is appropriate for my age, as I've reached the twilight of my life," said Yang, who will turn 65 in November.
"Rather than demanding physical movements, this chapter requires a specific state of mind and inner world," she said.
Yang has been dubbed the "Peacock Princess of China" after her 1986 award-winning performance in "Spirit of the Peacock," which was inspired by the lithe arm and finger movements of the Dai peacock dance.
She rose to prominence as China's ethnic dance icon and a world-renowned dancer and choreographer.
A few months ago, however, there were discussions regarding stage photographs of the male performer in flesh-colored leggings. Some Internet users commented that the performer appeared to be naked and questioned the necessity of it.
"This is all about artistic necessity," Yang said, responding to the controversy.
"The male peacock removes the feathers as the plot develops. The costume is appropriate for the scene. I particularly like the scene because it requires the dancer to use extreme body language to communicate his emotions," said Yang.
"If anyone has watched the show, he or she would understand," she added. "These controversial social media discussions do not affect me. They are like free publicity for my work."
Yang said she has been holding on to her artistic pursuits and true self.
"I spend my whole life pursuing joy and beauty. I'm a person who seeks the truth. It allows me to better observe the world," she said.
Dates: August 30-September 3, 2pm/7:30pm
Tickets: 180-1080 yuan
Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater 上海大剧院
Address: 300 People's Ave 人民大道300号