From Warrior to Pigsy
I kneel among hundreds of other Terracotta Warriors from the Qin dynasty, spear and shield in hand, focused and vigilant. As soon as the house curtain closes, I make a dash for the quick-change room and hastily take off my armor. I stuff myself into my “fat suit” and some oversized clothes. After a quick look in the mirror, I make my way to side stage and wait.
The Chinese flute plays a familiar prelude as the curtain gets ready to open. When it does, I make myself look as silly as possible and stumble out on stage as Pigsy, a clumsy character from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.
These are two of the new dances we’re currently performing at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada. Every year there is a new set of programs, and it seems like every year the requirements become more demanding, be it in terms of dance techniques or in the portrayal of different characters. For me, in comparison to previous years, this year is the most challenging, given the range of characters I have to switch between within a short period of time. But the more I perform these dances on stage, the more I get to really experience the richness of traditional Chinese culture, and the performance becomes an educational process for both the audience and myself.
Speaking of the audience, we’ve only had four performances so far in Canada, but the response has been tremendous. We’re in the middle of the holiday season, and yet the audience has surprisingly been near full capacity, and based on reviews, they’ve been really enjoying the performances. This is again a very encouraging start to another new season.
Last but not least, I wish you a Happy New Year!
December 29, 2010