Choreographer Yang Liping is a household name in China, but perhaps not elsewhere in the world. But that looks to be changing, with her eponymous dance company appearing in more and more major arts festivals around the world. It’s a welcome addition to the international contemporary dance circuit, which is often dominated by Western-centric programming. Yang, however, is reluctant to ascribe such specific labels to her work.
Yang Liping’s Rite of Spring. Photo © Hui Zhao
“From a choreographic perspective, I have no idea of boundaries between traditional or modern, Oriental or Western. When I am creating, I prefer to break historical and geographical constraints on stage. My dance is actually expressing the existence of myself, and the existence of each person is very complicated.”
Born in China’s Yunnan province as part of the Bai ethnic minority, Yang rose to fame as a dancer for her interpretation of the traditional Dai peacock dance. Three decades of performance and choreographic achievements within China have made her a mainstay of the national dance scene, and, increasingly, an important artistic voice abroad.