Posts Tagged ‘edinburgh festival’

Red Detachment Redux and the Cowboy Spirit

Friday, August 5th, 2011

by Cathy Barbash

For those of you who did not get enough of the Red Detachment of Women during this winter’s run of Nixon in China at the Met, the National Ballet of China will be performing excerpts of the ballet (possibly the same excerpt reinterpreted and interpolated into the opera by Mark Morris) in its mixed program as part of the Kennedy Center’s latest China festival, “CHINA: The Art of a Nation.” (The Ministry of Culture considered their 2005 Festival of China so successful, they wanted another.) Alas, the remainder of the program features the equally unavoidable Yellow River Concerto and Swan Lake excerpts. After visual arts, China’s dance companies lead the way in innovation and international marketability of their arts. Why such conservative repertoire? Why not show the latest the company has to offer?

Interesting related updates: the Inner Mongolian Chorus also performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s 2005 Festival of China. Since then however, consistent with the continuing Reform and Opening Up of cultural industries, a small ensemble originating from this chorus has gone off on their own, with great success so far. An Da Union has toured twice through our heartland through Arts Midwest’s Worldfest program (as has Beauty and Melody). They play the Edinburgh Festival later this month, and are the subject of an upcoming documentary. Mostly younger performers, they have had the courage, savvy and entrepreneurial spirit to break away from the old fashioned “large official group” mentality that limits much international touring of large official Chinese ensembles to large-scale sit-down festivals.