Dance drama "Confucius." (Photo : YouTube/Ann Stahmer)
A new dance drama based on the life and influence of a legendary Chinese philosopher is making waves in New York City. Titled “Confucius,” the 90-minute dance piece dazzled audiences at the Lincoln Center when it premiered on Jan. 5.
According to Broadway World, the dance drama features members of the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater. The production was choreographed, produced and directed by Kong Dexin, a 77th-generation direct descendant of Confucius.
DC Theatre Scene notes that Kong was born to do this show as she tells the story of her esteemed ancestor who lived 2,500 years ago. Since the show made its debut in Beijiing, the 34-year-old has served as a cultural ambassador as the show opened in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Featuring traditional Chinese music, elaborate costumes, and gymnastic choreography, the dance drama tells the story of Confucius’ journey through the kingdoms of China during the Zhou Dynasty. Throughout his travels, he imparts his wisdom among the empire’s rulers.
The story spans the 14 years that the sage travelled China before returning home to write his six classics. The story line by playwright Lui Chan reportedly has a Prologue, four acts, and an Epilogue. The six sections are called “Inquiry,” “The Chaotic Time,” “Out of Food,” “Great Harmony,” “Mourning for Benevolence,” and “Happiness.”
Critics called “Confucius” a visual treat, as viewers witnessed the masterful stage and lighting design of Ren Dongshen. The artistry and attention to detail of costume designer Yang Donglin also served to further transport the audience to Confucius’ China.
“I think this is the most beautiful, elegant ballet I’ve ever seen,” said a spectator to China.org. “The colors, and the voices, and the movement of dancers were amazing.”
“Confucius” will make its Washington D.C. debut this week at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show will run from Friday, Jan. 13, to Sunday, Jan. 15. For ticket information, visit the official website of the Kennedy Center.