2016/01/14

Yang Liping: Dancing South of the Clouds


Yang Liping, a dance artist from the Bai ethnic group, was nominated for the You-Bring-Charm-to-the-World Award issued by Phoenix Satellite Television along with over 10 other well-known Chinese media and institutions from home and abroad.

Her performance has been quoted as "perfect". She can bring you easily to her own fairy land, where you will have the feeling of really being there, no matter how sensible, how unfamiliar you are with dancing; she wields an unfathomable kind of magic, which works in her movements or even a pause, turning it into a trace of breeze flying upon a pool of stagnant water after which waves-chasing sound echoes in our silent souls; her dance is extremely pure as if far away from real life; however, it is exactly what our hearts yearn for. She is a "dancing poet" in the true sense. It is she-Yang Liping, the dancer south of the clouds.

The most genuine, affectionate, emotional dancer

Those who know about Yang Liping must understand her personality. She deeply loves dancing and falls passionately for Yunnan. From her earliest works Spirit of the Peacock, Moonlight and Two Tresses subsequently all the way to her recent works including The Impression of Yunnan, The Mystery of the Tibetans and The Sound of Yunnan, all of her works have the theme of Yunnan. She says, "Yunnan is a magical land, enjoying numerous and inexhaustible folk cultural resources. Yunnan itself is just like a glamorous diamond. Although many rare or even disappearing Yunnan elements have been collected during my visits, the elements are merely a drop in the bucket in terms of the whole of Yunnan. With the wonderful topics with which I am familiar, why would I ever want to do another subject? I could spend my whole life studying just these."

It seems that Yang Liping's works are just about Yunnan culture, but matter-of-factly her work has never been that simple. She feels that the subjects she has chosen are all close to people's hearts and that dancing itself contains philosophy. The Mystery of the Tibetans shows the values of life and death of the Tibetans, for example that one is destined for death, so we should not fear it. Instead, we should feel peaceful in a happy spirit and feel the preciousness of life in a deeper format. The Impression of Yunnan symbolizes the original folk images and her love for nature, while The Sound of Yunnan is more poetic and rhythmic. With no complicated dancing movements, she hopes the audience can feel the original meaning of life.

Amongst all of Yang Liping's works, The Impression of Yunnan, first performed in 2003, is the "evergreen" piece, which has been performed over 3,000 times so far in over 40 Chinese cities and 50 foreign countries and districts including the United States of America, Japan, Argentina and Brazil, drawing quite a few fans who follow from one place to another. According to Yang Liping herself, the work should continue to be shown to audiences as scheduled. Asked about the popularity of her work, Yang Liping replied with a smile, "Because my performances are enjoyable, people are willing to pay for the tickets. In turn, it means they like my performances, so they come to see my dancing."

Dancing runs through my entire life

Speaking of her plans for after retirement from dancing, Yang Liping looked calm and said, "Then I will do choreography. There are many excellent choreographers in the world who work behind the screen and just dance at home. However, not dancing on stage does not mean an end to a dancing career, but continuity in a different format. I have danced this long, and I will not be able to live without dancing in the future either, because dancing has been running through my entire life."