China’s BeijingDance/LDTX and Australia’s Expressions Dance Company presented the world premier of their collaborative performance First Ritual at Beijing’s PLA Theater on November 5 and 6, 2010.
After the world premier in Beijing, First Ritual toured to Australia's Brisbane Festival in September 2011.
About the Project
First Ritual is a modern dance triptych exploring the notion of rituals. The concerns and collisions of modern artists from different nations imbue ancient rituals from the earliest human cultures with new meaning and implications. This intersection of cultures initiates inspiration; the spirit of ritual becomes the recognition of self and society, of tradition and modernity, reality and illusion, individual and global, body and spirit...
This creative collaboration is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-China Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian International Cultural Commission, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as China's Ministry of Culture and the Beijing Culture and Art Foundation. Expressions Dance Company has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
- Section I: Performed by BeijingDance/LDTX dancers. Choreographed by Beijing/Dance LDTX deputy artistic director Li Hanzhong and dancer Ma Bo, this section is inspired by China’s earliest ritual music and dance ceremony, “Cloud Gate.” In this ceremony, the complex contradictions between man and ritual are brought into focus. Are body and soul one, or are form and spirit separate? A reflective perspective, the stage is separated into two colliding worlds, of outer form and introspection. The music Orchestral Theatre II: Re by legendary composer Tan Dun provides the atmospheric background for Li and Ma’s re-invention of an ancient rite.
- Section II: Performed by Australia’s Expressions Dance Company (EDC). Choreographed by EDC Artistic Director Natalie Weir with commissioned music by famous Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. Weir draws inspiration from the connection Australians have with their land and also incorporates images by renowned Australian photographers Max Dupain and Olive Cotton of such modern commonplace “rituals” as courtship, weddings, funerals, and simple friendship. Powerful staging, sophisticated lighting, all to probe the essence of human natures across time. Section II was completed in Australia and staged on September 22 in the Brisbane Festival.
- Section III: Choreographed by EDC Artistic Director Natalie Weir and LDTX Artistic Director Willy Tsao and performed by both companies together to Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto. In this section, the choreographers reflect on their own unique traditional cultural heritages and together search for the universal essences that transcend time and space to discover and invent new shared rituals for this crowded, urbanized era. How can we, together, create meaning and order amidst the sound and fury of modern life?