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Kultour TOURING
Produced by Multicultural Arts Victoria

REDSPAN Dance Company - Xing, White Fan and The Treasure

REDSPAN Dance Company REDSPAN Dance Company

"Xing was a delicately choreographed, hypnotic work involving a cross-cultural ensemble. It was enthusiastically received by audiences and could easily have run for another week of performances."
Vanessa Pigrim, Artistic Director, Full Tilt Program, The Arts Centre, Victoria

Flyer & Media Release

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Touring Dates & Destinations

Melbourne
Dance House
6th September 8.00pm & Sun 7th Sept 2.00pm Matinee & 6.00pm 2008

Sydney
CASULA Power House
10 September - 14 September 2008

REDSPAN Dance Company

When internationally acknowledged choreographer Feng Feng Weng became a citizen of Australia in 2006 her first impulse was to form a dance company.

She teamed up with producer/composer Gus Macmillan, and Red Span Dance Company was born.

The vision of the company was to develop a collaborative environment for dancers and artists of Chinese and Australian backgrounds to work together with the aim of spanning the divide between traditional Chinese and modern western art-forms, blending Feng Feng's extensive Chinese folk and modern dance training with contemporary Western influences, to be set in a 21st Century context.

REDSPAN Dance Company REDSPAN Dance Company

Redspan Dance Company’s work has quickly developed an original character and style of its own, expressing a complex and subtle aesthetic which reveals an intimacy, elegance, simplicity and abstract grace.

It represents a unique and personal expression of an emerging Chinese culture as it engages with the rest of the world, as told through its recent diaspora.

In 2006, Red Span Dance Company received the inaugural Full Tilt funding initiative by the Victorian Arts Centre.

The Full Tilt program provided Red Span Dance Company with the resources to develop the work Xing with a brief showing in the Blackbox Theatre of the Victorian Arts Centre.

In 2007 Feng Feng worked in Beijing as part of the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games.

She returns to Australia to tour her works Xing, White Fan and The Treasure as part of Multicultural Arts Victoria's Kultour program performing at Dancehouse on September 6th & 7th 2008 and the Casula Powerhouse on September 11th, 12th & 13th.

Following this tour Feng Feng will be mainly based in Melbourne, developing a new work "Flower Knot" as part of Terrain08, pursuing further funding opportunities through the Australia Council, Arts Victoria and Asialink for more creative collaborations.

The long term aim of the company is to not only create works that bridge the cultural gap but also combine the best dancers from China and the West, working together to develop responses to the cultural, historical, political and personal circumstances that divide and unite them.

The Company

Feng Feng Wang - Choreographer (China)
Suhaili Micheline Ahmad Kamil - Dancer (Malaysia)
Nick Somerville - Dancer (Australia)
Tony Ng - Dancer (Vietnamese-Australian)
Danielle Carnavan - Dancer (Australian)
Yi Zhang - Dancer (China)
Gus Macmillan - Composer, sound designer, musician and production manager

The Treasure

This work, consisting of two dancers, and a live musician performing original music composed specifically for the piece, explores the behaviours of two people intimately and inextricably caught together. It opens up and re-embodies 'precious' moments in their relating. Feng Feng Wang, Choreographer, says of the piece "I wanted to present the study in much the same way we might show or display an artefact or treasure in a gallery.

"In ‘Treasure’ this conceptualization of the relationship between feminine and masculine blends with my understanding of emotion and leads to explorations of levels within various emotional states, such as comfort, play, exclusion, support, dissonance, compromise, passiveness, initiative, care and mutuality. They became the basis for developing ‘scores’ for improvisation and identifying and further manipulating key movement forms."

"To my knowledge of Chinese philosophy, yin and yang have never been associated with specific moral or aesthetic values. What is Chinese beauty or beneficial is neither yin nor yang but the dynamic balance between the two."

"In my intention, the human relation is not as simple as "white" or "black", lover or enemy. Mostly it stays in a dynamic balance state too - neither pure Yin nor Yang, and may not be hot or cool. It contains many different "tastes", - sweet, salty, spicy, and acid. I found that subtle senses can be beautifully "drawn" by very fine "strokes" of body language."

Xing

The work, consisting of five dancers and a live singer, explores the circulation between the five traditional Chinese "Taoism" elements of wood, fire, earth, water, and metal.

The five elements, also called "Wu Xing" represent the processes that are fundamental to the cycles of nature. The Chinese term "xing" means the process of one thing acting upon another.

In relation to the five elements, the cycle of processes as "Yin" and "Yang" can be represented as:

  • wood feeds fire
  • fire creates ashes which form earth
  • inside the earth, metal which is heated liquefies and produces water vapour
  • water generated then nourishes the trees, or wood

    Each dancer embodies through the performance subtle detailed shifts - temporary moments of balance, harmonization of occurrence, growth, development, symmetry and change.

    The original music for the piece, written by Gus Macmillan, also reflects the interchangeable nature of these themes, with new sounds or instrumentation introduced as each performer's journey commences, to develop thematically in parallel to the structure as the performance plays out. The process of composing and developing the music was strongly inter-linked to the choreographer's rehearsal processes and practices.

    Artists profile - Biography of Feng Feng Wang

    Feng Feng Wang

    Feng Feng Wang was born in Chengdu, China, and began full time dance training when she was accepted into the prestigious Shanghai Dance School at the age of 11.

    There she studied Classical Ballet, Chinese Folk Dance, and Chinese Traditional Dance for six years.

    Upon graduating she took up a tertiary placement at the Beijing Dance Academy, where she studied choreography for four years, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, and learning a variety of styles including Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and Trisha Brown.

    During this time she also studied dance for a period in New York and choreographed and performed Rust Sleeve at the Connecticut International Dance Festival.

    She then went on to work in the Chinese Central Ballet as a staff member, dancer, and assistant choreographer, and during this time choreographed Blood at the International Computer Music Festival in Beijing, and performed Calling for Wilderness, with the Beijing Modern Dance Company, China.

    In 2004 she came to Melbourne, Australia to study for her Masters Degree in Choreography at the Victorian College of the Arts.

    During this time she choreographed and performed many works including White Fan, Phoenix Feathers and The Treasure.

    REDSPAN Dance Company REDSPAN Dance Company

    kultour

    This tour is supported by Kultour: touring multicultural arts, changing Australian culture - a proud initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts

    www.kultour.com.au

    Multicultural Arts Victoria

    www.multiculturalarts.com.au