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The Spectacular Chinese Dance Peony Pavilion to be performed in NYC


The China Arts & Entertainment Group (CAEG), a creative enterprise under the administration of the Ministry of Culture for the People’s Republic of China is pleased to announce the US Premiere of a new dance drama production of The Peony Pavilion by the China Jinling Dance Company of Nanjing taking the stage at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center January 5 - 8, 2012.

The engagement will be the first offering of what is hoped to be an ongoing relationship between CAEG and the David H. Koch Theater, which will showcase China’s historical contribution to the world of theater and art, by bringing the finest in Chinese contemporary and classical performing arts to the United States on an ongoing basis.

The Peony Pavilion is a story about forbidden love, written by Tang Xianzu, and first performed in 1598 as Kunqu opera during the Ming Dynasty. The four shows in January 2012 will mark the first time the dance drama will be performed outside of China, and the Ministry of Culture has chosen New York’s David H. Koch Theater to take it center stage in its US premiere.

The China Jinling Dance Company was founded in 1955 and first performed The Peony Pavilion as a dance drama in 2008, winning several awards the following year including best director, composition, and stage design.

"Both Chinese and U.S. government leaders have recently emphasized the importance of promoting bilateral relations through cultural exchanges," said Zhang Yu, President of the China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG). "The Peony Pavilion is one of China’s most extraordinary cultural exports that artfully epitomizes the beauty and history of Chinese culture."

This modern dance drama, born from the classic love story by Tang Xianzu, is presented with bold and visually stunning scenes, through complex and demanding choreography, in ornate and elaborate costumes, with each scene pieced poetically together. Creating a dream-like setting, we are drawn into the fantasy and intense love courtship of Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei. The contemporary fashion in which the drama depicts such an ancient tale is a true innovation. They break new ground by presenting the essence of the play in an entirely new theatrical art form.

"This production, which will be presented by the China Arts & Entertainment Group, will be the first step in what we hope will be a long term relationship with the David H. Koch Theater," said Mark Heiser, Managing Director. "As the theater opens up to other international and national arts organizations, it is this type of partnership that we believe will promote cultural exchange and will further engage Lincoln Center with the many diverse communities that live and work in New York."

In 1999, the Lincoln Center for the performing arts produced a 20 hour version of Tang Xianzu’s Peony Pavilion directed by Chen Shizheng and starring Qian Yias as Du Liniang. This 20 hour version was perhaps the first full length staging in 300 years and spurred an interest in the full opera beyond a few celebrated episodes. Lincoln Center’s version toured extensively, playing in New York, Paris, Milan, Singapore, Caen, Charleston, Aarhus, Berlin, Perth, and Vienna.

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