生长GENESIS

photo by Koen Broos

The call of the East has been a particularly enduring, if ever-varying, melody in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s life. And the East has come calling again.

This time, Yabin Wang made that call, from Beijing. For those familiar with dance currents in Asia, her name will ring several bells: Wang is an accomplished choreographer and dancer, trained in both ballet and contemporary forms, winner of prestigious prizes at the national level, and artistic director of the critically-acclaimed company Yabin & Her Friends, which commissions choreographers from Asia, Europe and the US. Yabin Wang is also known among cinephiles as the dancer who actually executed the breathtaking drum dancing sequence in Zhang Yimou’s The House of Flying Daggers and as the heroine of the Chinese teleseries The Love Story of the Village.

 生长Genesis will see talented and trusted partners reunite to complete the core creative team: Barbara Drazkowska’s rendition on the piano and Manjunath Chandramouli’s mridangam will be one of the central elements, complemented with Olga Wojciechowska’s electronic score; lightening designer Willy Cessa, once again entrusted with the challenge of conjuring up a very specific atmosphere; and set designer Kedong Liu, for whom this is a maiden collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

 At this point, Eastman, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s company, and Yabin & Her Friends decided to join forces. So, instead of being a commissioned work from Cherkaoui produced solely by Yabin & Her Friends, or an Eastman production made for Cherkaoui with Chinese dancers, 生长Genesis has become a relationship in reciprocity, where the Belgian and Chinese companies come together to pool their kno-whow, network and resources to create the conditions that would allow both artists to fulfill their vision, and share their work with diverse audiences.

Cherkaoui was the guest of honour for the fifth edition. True to the name of his company, Eastman, the Belgian choreographer has met his hosts halfway with 生长genesis: the creation pits three of his own dancers against four Chinese performers. The music is another hodgepodge of influences, with a piano, an Indian mridangam (drum) and other instruments on stage to complete Olga Wojciechowska’s electronic score. The result is a work of gentle beauty, ambitious in scope but more subdued in dance terms.(…)  Financial Times