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    Show of great spirit

    By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-28 08:21
    Veteran Chinese dancer-choreographer Liu Lingli features traditional Chinese elements in her latest drama, The Greatest Spirit, which will show in Beijing over March 6-7. [Photo provided to China Daily]

    By drawing inspiration from the long-celebrated culture surrounding baijiu, Liu Lingli succeeds in finding a new direction for her latest dance work, Chen Nan reports. 

    When renowned Chinese dancer-choreographer Liu Lingli started planning a new dance drama more than a year ago, she decided to root her ideas in traditional Chinese culture, just as she did in her previous works-including one of her most famous works from 2004, Qiao Hua Dan, which centers around the young female roles played in Peking Opera.

    However, she decided to approach her latest project from a new angle, exploring a subject she really didn't know much about-Chinese white spirit, or baijiu.

    With more than 5,000 years of history, Chinese spirits are enjoyed on many occasions, such as family gatherings, weddings and business banquets. The culture of Chinese spirits have long been celebrated in the works of many poets, including Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Li Bai and Song Dynasty (960-1279) scribe Su Shi.

    After a year of research and preparation, Liu premiered the dance drama, titled The Greatest Spirit, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in March 2018. After five sellout shows, the work toured several US cities in September-including Minneapolis, Chicago and Los Angeles.

    Over March 6-7, the dance drama will make its debut in Beijing, with two shows being staged at the National Center for the Performing Arts.

    Performed by dancers from the Sichuan Province Song and Dance Theatre, the drama is divided into 11 acts, including The Spirit of Han Dynasty and Enchanted Ancient Beauty, which tell the history and culture of Chinese spirits, and explore the folklore surrounding them.

    The final act of the work, titled Oriental Female Heroes, was staged in the closing stages of the CCTV Spring Festival Gala on Feb 4, one of the most-watched annual TV shows in the world.

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