There’s a fairly huge mega-company type cultural celebration of China going on at the moment at both the Kennedy Centre in New York and in Boston. It looks like they flew over every single artist, musician and dancer, and every company from every town in the whole country. It’d be pretty funny if they all decided to defect en masse, but there’s no cheap DVDs, the dictator’s soporific of choice, in America. It’s just as well I’m not in Guangzhou now, I’d be really bored because everyone I know is on the other side of the Pacific.
Anyway, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra just performed in Boston, and the National Ballet of China, who get a big write-up in the Washington Post is in New York next week. The other big one amidst all the culture is the three contemporary dance companies, Beijing Modern Dance, Guangdong Modern Dance, and CCDC from Hong Kong, all under the direction of Willy Tsao.
It’s almost the same programme which I had almost nothing good to say about in May, with the inclusion of Liu Qi’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Tai Qi, calligraphy rip-off which I didn’t heard much good about either. So the result is disappointment. I’ve seen the stuff these companies are doing which kicks ass, and the crap they are touring is just abysmal.
Being reductionist, I could say it’s the result of arts administrators and cultural politicians driving a semi-trailer over the artists. It’sr a weakness for cultural stereotypes and clichés that means the only thing people know about contemporary dance in Taiwan is the turgid Cloud Gate. If you want to see amazing Chinese contemporary dancers, go see this show, but is you want to see amazing Chinese art, the curatorial genius of 麻将 Mahjong still is far beyond the other China art background noise.
The New York Times has a big article on The Festival of China, which is great except for the title. Don’t editors think that art and China might not need some asinine title with puerile wordplay on the Cultural Revolution?