Dance like crested ibis soaring wings
Crested ibis, a rare bird species that lives in China, migrates in chilly winter to U.S. at the beginning of new year and makes a splash in New York at Lincoln Center. The Chinese dance drama focusing on the destiny of the once endangered species and the interdependence between human beings and nature has struck a chord with American audience.
Chinese dance drama "Soaring Wings: Journey of the Crested Ibis" premiered at the David H. Koch Theater in New York city's Lincoln Center. The dance drama is produced by Shanghai Dance Theater. It explores the fate of crested ibises, beautiful and rare creatures that symbolize happiness and blessings in ancient China.
Centuries ago, human beings lived in harmony with these birds - reserved, elegant, sacred and noble, yet also sensitive, vulnerable and occasionally distant. Following modernization and urbanization, the living environment for crested ibises began to deteriorate and in the middle of the 20th Century, they became endangered species.
With traditional Chinese music, opulent costumes, and expressive choreography, the drama appeals to the audience to protect the environment.
"We establish the beauty of the bird and its habitat, destroy it and re-establish it in our drama in order to present to our audience the significance of protecting our Mother Earth," said Tong Ruirui, director and choreographer of the ballet drama.
She added that the crested ibis is a symbol, representing mankind's pursuit of harmonious coexistence with all other species.
The leading dancer Zhu Jiejing said the choreographic language in the drama is unique as it combines ballet techniques and body movements that are typical in classical Chinese dance, and also includes movements imitating crested ibises.
Members of the audience called the dancers' embodiment of the birds impressive.
"I like the dichotomy between the movement that is supposed to be human and the movement that is supposed to be bird, and the merging of the two together," said J.T. Horenstein, adding that the dance drama was unique as it merges contemporary ballet with Chinese traditional dance.
Since its premiere on October 7, 2014, Soaring Wings has presented nearly 200 performances in China and other Asian countries.