Dance Legends From China Visit the Irvine Barclay Theatre

No props, no stage hands, just a handful of stunning dancers gracing the stage with limitless talent accompanied with beautiful music.
Dance Legends from China 2004 brought a great allure on stage this weekend at the Barclay Theatre. The Legends of China is a non-governmental organization with the goal of establishing strong relationships and opportunities for U.S. and Chinese educators, artists and environmentalists to meet their counterparts and share common ideals and a love for humanity. Dance Legends from China is a collaboration of talented director Yu Lee and a handful of dancers, including some of our UCI dancers. A vision of four years finally brought to stage, this production is a combination of fresh contemporary dancing and the theme of East meets West.
From as far as Tibet and Beijing, renowned award-winning dancers from all over China came together not only to dance and sing, but to enlighten the American audience with a whole new perspective on the art of dancing.
With colorful costumes that reflect different parts of Chinese traditions, its color contrasts both within itself and with the background of the stage make it especially eye-catching.
The music consisted of a hint of exhilaration, whether it be to express joy or to mend sadness. Crisp notes and constantly changing intensity make the songs very personal and warm. The song-and-dance of ‘Dance with Me’ by Miss Abula Dilinear shows that the talents of the artists are not limited to dancing.
The dance techniques required incredibly versatile dancers. With an incorporation of modern ballet and ancient Chinese martial arts, constant sporadic movements were added for special effect. The dancers make these moves seem easy with an excellent control of body, mind and soul.
‘The most difficult part of the production,’ producer and director Yu Lee explained, ‘was to get the best of the best together, to incorporate individual visions and talents and at the same time reflect a 5,000-year-old Chinese history.’
Every performance is a whole different aspect of Chinese history and culture. Each dance tells a story in its own way without using words. Each time there was fear that the show would come to an end, a completely new and exhilarating dance comes along to grab your attention.
The most important thing that Lee stressed in her directing work is that ‘the dancers not only reflect China but the entire universe as well.’
Dancers Wu Zhen Yan and Liu Zhen, both from Beijing, said the most rewarding experience throughout this entire journey was their ability to bond so smoothly and quickly with the other dancers from different parts of the world that they met while touring in such a short period of time.
The Dance Legends of China dancers also lectured and demonstrated to UCI dance students. The last piece called ‘The Silk Road to the Future,’ named after an 8-year-old event that celebrates international friendship and goodwill between college students from universities all over China and the United States.
‘Despite the short rehearsal time and the language barrier with the Legends of China dancers,’ UCI student Nolan Kubota said, ‘these dancers are only a few years older than us, yet they are so incredible, it’s truly an inspiration.’
The fresh, personal and passionate pieces of modern dance art brings the audience a breath of fresh air. It is something one must see and truly be a part of.