In Dreams of Han Dynasty, twelve graceful dancers transport us back in time to early court dances of China. Their dreamlike steps and postures and the delightful melody guide us into a charming illusion.
Artistic Director Ye Feng is choreographer. She was inspired by gestures and postures of recently unearthed terracotta dancers from the Han Dynasty. She saw the sculptures as culture bearers, messengers from the Han music and dance institutions (206 BCE to 220 AD) that produced China’s earliest court dances and professional dancers. The Han are China’s largest ethnic group, so this dance history is representative and far-reaching; its styles continue to influence Chinese culture and dance.
Dreams of Han Dynasty incorporates ancient postures and movements directly from the sculptures: a leaning upper body, the side-pushing hip, and the slightly bent knees. And the result is the uniquely Chinese aesthetic seen in many aspects of Chinese classical dance, opera, and folk dance. The choreography also includes Han Dynasty ceremonial steps, showing an etiquette advanced more than a thousand years ago. The music is an artistic revitalization. A traditional guzheng zither contrasts and harmonizes with a female chorus and a Western symphony, weaving ancient dream and contemporary reality.
Ye Feng also conceived the gold and yellow costumes with Han Dynasty wide sleeves, long skirts. The phoenix on the robe symbolizes feminine kindness, generosity, and wisdom. Jade pendants on the dancers’ hair accessories and waistbands reflect ancient fashion; and brocade fabric represents the Han court, as brocade was renowned as a highest art form, worn exclusively by the ancient royal family.
Feng Ye Dance Studio was established in 2017 by artistic director Ye Feng, former President and Artistic Director of China’s National Song and Dance Troupe. She received the Chinese Ministry of Culture title of “National First-Class Dancer,” performed at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, and was as a choreographer in the 2014 World Youth Olympic Games. With numerous professional awards, Feng Ye Dance Studio is committed to producing new dance work based on traditional Chinese culture and aesthetics, working with a variety of ideas, different forms of art, and experimental concepts.
July 13 & 14
Dance Origin: China
Title: Dreams of Han Dynasty
Artistic Director/Choreographer: Ye Feng
Costume Design: Na Zheng
Dancers: Ye Feng, Yating Lu, Nannan Jia, Annie, Christy Yang, Jin Zhang, Yujie Dai, Peilun Fang, Lucy Lu, Liina Wang, Tracy Xie, Maggie Xu
Photo: RJ Muna