BEIJING DANCE THEATER MAKES ITS CHICAGO DEBUT WITH WILD GRASS
Led by company founder and Artistic Director Wang Yuanyuan,
choreographer of the 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony
CHICAGO (October 1, 2014)— The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, in association with The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, opens its 2014–2015 season by presenting Beijing Dance Theater (BDT) in the company’s Chicago debut, Tuesday, October 28, and Wednesday, October 29, at 7:30PM. BDT’s first appearance in Chicago will feature the ensemble’s all-new Wild Grass, a powerful modern dance work inspired by the writing of Chinese poet and literary giant Lu Xun (1881–1936). Wild Grass receives its U.S. premiere during the company’s 2014–2015 international tour, with stops at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and culminating with a final tour stop at the Harris Theater this fall.
Choreographed by company founder and artistic director Wang Yuanyuan, Wild Grass is a seductive medley of three movements based on the writing of Lu Xun, considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Both vivid and abstract, Lu Xun’s work has developed a mythic following in his native China, known for its complexities and intricate metaphors. The dance, choreographed by Wang in 2013, uses movement to convey ideas of growth decay and, ultimately, rebirth—a symbolic progression as it relates to the human life cycle.
“Wang Yuanyuan has established herself as a major force on the international dance scene over the last several years, ever since her magnificent work during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games back in 2008,” said Michael Tiknis, the Harris Theater’s President and Managing Director. “The company is at an exciting artistic juncture, as Beijing Dance Theater looks to broaden its reach into the world. We’re proud to be able to host the company for its first Chicago performances and invite The Dance Center to be our partner and collaborator.”
Beijing Dance Theater performs at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance on Tuesday, October 28, and Wednesday, October 29, at 7:30PM. Tickets start at $10. Wild Grass is the latest piece of choreography by company artistic director Wang Yuanyuan, a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at the California Institute of Arts School of Dance in Los Angeles, California.
- •• All programs, prices and dates are subject to change •••
About Beijing Dance Theater
Founded in 2008, Beijing Dance Theater (BDT) is led by its choreographer Wang Yuanyuan together with visual artists Tan Shao Yuan and Han Jiang. It has collaborated with many internationally renowned dramatists, musicians, and designers, enriching the international dance stages with its world-class productions, each of which represents the highest level of Chinese contemporary dance. BDT’s repertoire includes: Stirred from a Dream, a dance-drama adapted from the Kun Opera Peony Pavilion; Diary of Empty Space, an energetic triple-bill and the company’s opening performance; Haze, a contemplation in a time of crisis; Prism, a triple-bill featuring work by choreographers from Sweden, Denmark, and Canada; and Color of Love, a sensual exploration of the emotional landscape of women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
In June of 2010, the company premiered Martlet (Bird Without Feet), which depicts life in Beijing. All of these works have captured global attention. During 2011–2012, BDT toured Europe and the U.S. to perform Haze. In 2011, BDT presented Golden Lotus at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. They also presented Middle, collaborating with French choreographer Anthony Egea at Festival Croisements, as well as Hesitation with the well-known Chinese theater director Lin Zhaohua.
About Wang Yuanyuan
Born and raised in Beijing, Wang Yuanyuan is one of China’s leading modern dance choreographers. She prides herself on being rooted in Chinese traditions while at the same time producing innovative, authentic, and thoughtful contemporary dance works for the world stage. She started as a dancer at the age of 10 at the Affiliated Middle School of Beijing Dance Academy and continued to study choreography at Beijing Dance Academy, where she later served as teacher. Between 2000 and 2002, she was further trained at the prestigious Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program at the California Institute of Arts (Cal Arts) School of Dance in Los Angeles. In 1998, she was named resident choreographer of the National Ballet of China and successively staged Butterfly Lovers, Rainbow of the Night, Attraction, Lost Emotion, Fate, and a Chinese version of Nutcracker. Later on, she also choreographed a ballet version of Raise the Red Lantern for film director Zhang Yimou and the dance sequences for Tan Dun’s music in the film The Banquet for director Feng Xiaogang.
Her works have been staged around the globe in the United States, Russia, Korea, France, Bulgaria, Denmark, Singapore, Australia, Greece, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Brazil, and Mexico. In recognition of her excellence in choreography, she has been invited to serve as guest choreographer at New York City Ballet Choreography Institute, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (School of Dance), Royal Danish Ballet, and Shanghai Ballet. Aside from her early award as dancer in Paris International Dance Competition, she has won Best Choreographer awards in Bulgaria Varna International Ballet Competition (IBC), U.S. Jackson IBC, Moscow IBC and Shanghai IBC, which made her the one to win the most Best Choreographer awards internationally among Chinese choreographers. In 2008, she founded Beijing Dance Theater with veteran lighting designer Han Jiang and set designer Tan Shaoyuan. Diary of Empty Space was premiered the same year as their first creation, followed by Stirred from a Dream, Haze, Prism, The Color of Love, Martlet, Harvest, Golden Lotus, and Hesitation.
About Harris Theater for Music and Dance
The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance is a 1500-seat state-of-the art performance venue located in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Opened in November 2003, the nonprofit Harris Theater was the first multi-use performance venue built in downtown Chicago since 1929. Harris Theater serves as a unique national model of collaboration between the philanthropic community and performing arts organizations in music and dance. More than a decade later, the theater features the most diverse offerings of any venue in Chicago, hosting local, national, and internationally renowned artists and ensembles.
The Harris Theater’s primary mission is to partner with an array of Chicago’s music and dance performing arts organizations to help them build the resources and infrastructure necessary to achieve artistic growth and long-term organizational sustainability. The Harris Theater’s original group of 12 resident companies has grown to include 35 diverse and exceptionally talented performing arts organizations, including internationally acclaimed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNow, and collaborations with Lyric Opera of Chicago, National Museum of Mexican Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Columbia College Chicago. Through these partnerships, the Theater has earned national recognition as a distinctive model for collaboration, performance, and artistic advancement.
The Theater supports its mission by providing partner organizations with subsidized rental, technical expertise, and marketing support, allowing the organizations to focus on what they do best—bringing the finest in music and dance performances to the public. The Theater offers professional development opportunities, including the innovate Learning Lab, endorsed with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Harris Theater is also dedicated to presenting internationally acclaimed music and dance organizations to enhance its reputation as well as to help build audiences for the Theater’s resident companies. Through the Harris Theater Presents series, the Theater has achieved widespread recognition as a vital cultural anchor in Chicago. Daniel Barenboim, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Renee Fleming, the Hamburg Ballet, Lang Lang, the New York City Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, Stephen Sondheim, and many others have graced the Harris’ Elizabeth Morse Genius Stage through this series.
The Harris Theater maintains a commitment to community engagement for children, teens and adults. Programs advance access to, and understanding of, the performing arts. They include the Family Series and the lunchtime Eat to the Beat series. Collaborating with community arts centers and health and human service agencies, the Theater has provided more than 7,000 complimentary tickets through its Access Tickets Program. Through the Teen Arts Project, the theater partners with public and private schools to provide behind-the-scenes access to visiting world-class artists through master classes, artist discussions, and other enrichment activities.
To learn more about the Harris Theater, please visit HarrisTheaterChicago.org. Call the Marketing Department at 312.334.2419 to request a brochure or additional information.
The Harris Theater is proud to have the support of The Northern Trust Company as its 2014–2015 season sponsor. United Airlines is the official and exclusive airline of the Harris Theater. Hyatt Regency Chicago is the Harris Theater 2014–2015 season hotel partner. The Theater also gratefully acknowledges the Irving Harris Foundation for its leadership support of the Presenting Fund, and is grateful for the establishment of the Caryn and King Harris, Harris Family Foundation, Dance Residency Fund. The Harris Theater is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency. All performances take place on The Elizabeth Morse Genius Stage at the Harris Theater. Yum Cha Dim Sum Parlor is the restaurant partner for both performances of Beijing Dance Theater.
About The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago
The Dance Center of Columbia College is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. The Dance Center has been named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine and “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader, and Time Out Chicago cited it as “…consistently offering one of Chicago’s strongest lineups of contemporary and experimental touring dance companies.” Programs of The Dance Center are supported, in part, by Alphawood Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, New England Foundation for the Arts, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, National Performance Network (NPN) Performance Residency Program and the Arts Midwest Touring Fund. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Special thanks to Friends of The Dance Center.
The Dance Center’s 2014–15 season opened in September with the Chicago debut of BalletX (Sept. 18–20). In addition to Beijing Dance Theater, The Dance Center’s season continues with Hedwig Dances with DanzAbierta (Oct. 9–11), Rosy Simas Danse (Oct. 16–18), Heidi Latsky Dance (Nov. 6–8), David Roussève/REALITY (Feb. 5–7), Chicago Dance Crash (Feb. 19–21), Shantala Shivalingappa (Mar. 5–7) and Urban Bush Women (Mar. 19–21). For information or tickets, call 312-369-8330 or visit colum.edu/dancecenterpresents
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
205 E Randolph Drive
Chicago, IL 60601