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HK dancers' UK premiere of 'The Legend of Mulan' / by Wang Zhiyong, March 15, 2017 Adjust font size:

The Hong Kong Dance Company will premiere their award-winning dance drama "The Legend of Mulan" at the Royal Festival Hall on April 15. Part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), this is a dance reinterpretation of the famous Mulan ballad.

The Hong Kong Dance Company will premiere their award-winning dance drama "The Legend of Mulan" at the Royal Festival Hall on April 15, 2017. [Courtesy of HK Dance Company]

The U.K. audience will witness stunning moves from Hong Kong's finest dancers set around China's legendary woman warrior. The story centers around Mulan, who is distraught that her ageing father's name is on the conscription list. Since she has no brother to take her father's place, Mulan joins the army disguised as a man, and wins great honour in battle.

As the show's director and choreographer Yang Yuntao points out, the story explores the values of courage, honour and love for one's family and country, which allows people from different cultures to immerse in it. Children are particularly fond of Mulan, much indebted to the awarded Disney animated movie produced in 1998.

The story was originally in the form of lyric poetry immensely rich in aura and imagery, reminiscing the language and expression used in dance.

The Hong Kong Dance Company catches this poetic spirit and transforms it into spectacular dance movements, and special attention is paid to the aesthetics of dance itself.

Yang explains that Chinese dance is distinct from ballet or modern dance, and is an amalgamation of various art forms. Traditional Chinese dance, xiqu (Chinese opera), martial arts, ballet, and much more, is combined to create something unique.

This type of dance is highly expressive, and Yang singles out the narration of Mulan's inner thoughts, expressed through the female group dance and the "departure" father-daughter duet, as particular highlights.

The Hong Kong Dance Company was established in 1981 with the aim of promoting Chinese dance. The company has toured internationally as well as over Chinese mainland as a way to encourage cultural exchange. It has staged over one hundred productions, many of which received critical and public acclaim alike.

Yang, the director and choreographer of "The Legend of Mulan," is a member of the Bai ethnic minority in Yunnan. He has won many awards for both his dance performances and choreographic works over his career. He has been Hong Kong Dance Company's Artistic Director since 2013.

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