An interview with Yuanyuan the Director and Choreographer of the Golden Lotus ballet

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We chat with the Director and Choreographer, Yuanyuan, about the extraordinary performances of Golden Lotus.

(For the full article on Golden Lotus, click here:  https://www.modernmississauga.com/main/2017/9/11/beijing-dance-theater-presents-mississauga-premiere-of-the-golden-lotus-at-the-living-arts-centre)

1. Modern Mississauga: What was the inspiration for this ballet?

Yuanyuan: The Hong Kong International Arts Festival commissioned a stage production based on the novel The Golden Lotus back in 2011. We eagerly took on the challenge and decided The Golden Lotus would be best presented as a dance drama rather than as a play, taking a complex story beyond just the spoken word that creates an intimate atmosphere that involves a variety of senses.

2. Modern Mississauga: What was the most challenging aspect of putting this production together?

Yuanyuan: I found it very challenging to take a huge novel with 100 chapters and hundreds of characters and condense it into a 2-hour performance. Creating The Golden Lotus was certainly a long process to isolate and select the most powerful moments to portray through dance. I have always felt that the story of The Golden Lotus deserves to be told and is so much more than just its sexual content. It was groundbreaking for the time, reflecting new cultural values and concerns.

3. Modern Mississauga: What do you want the audience to takeaway from this performance?

Yuanyuan: Well, Jinlian is a very famous character in China due to her bold sexual nature, which might entice some people to see the show. However, The Golden Lotus audience will be very much drawn in by the set, the music, the dancing and the plot. It’s a story that stays with you well after the curtains close and many will wonder why Jinlian was so keen to find love at any cost and may get a better sense of what things were like during the Qing/Ming dynasty era.

4. Modern Mississauga: Was it an easy decision to select Mississauga as one of the tour stops? 

Yuanyuan: Since it’s our first time touring in Canada I think all of the theatres are important, but Rudy Gao, our presenter, would be better suited to answer this question. What I can say is that we are excited to come to Mississauga and I heard there is a large Chinese community, so hopefully they will be interested in The Golden Lotus.

5. Modern Mississauga: What’s the next project you're working on?

Yuanyuan: I am working on a new piece A Leaf in the Storm that is set to premiere in 2018, it’s like a Chinese version of Gone With The Wind and is adapted from a novel by Lin Yutang. 2018 is going to be a big year for us as it’s our 10-year anniversary so there are a lot of expectations. I’m planning to call back all of my previous dancers to perform my classic pieces in a Gala for two nights.