Dance drama puts spotlight on Song Dynasty poet

The new dance drama Li Qingzhao, which portrays the life of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) female poet by combing the traditional Chinese aesthetic style and modern taste, had its preview at

the Shanghai International Dance Center from Friday to Monday.

After the dance drama project was launched in November 2022, the Shanghai Dance Theatre Co Ltd, its producer, extensively researched historical materials and conducted field research trips to places, including Shandong and Zhejiang provinces, in 2023, delving deep into understanding Li's life and the historical context of the era.

Experts in the Chinese department of Fudan University in Shanghai also provided academic help, engaging in workshops and providing lectures for the cast and crew to enrich their professional knowledge for the creation of the dance drama.

The creation team said that they focused on exploring the cultural elements of the poet's era, aiming to convey the essence of her poetry through dance and artistic expression, delving into her inner world and portraying her life insights and emotional experiences.

The Song Dynasty is a significant period for the development of classical aesthetics in China, characterized by a pursuit of simplicity and purity in aesthetics. Li spent part of her life in Jiangnan (south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River). In the dance drama, the creators worked to showcase the aesthetic charm of Song Dynasty life and the unique allure of Jiangnan culture.

"Through dance, we aimed to showcase Li's literary essence and personal spirit, as well as present the representative traditional Chinese cultural elements of her time, such as some intangible cultural heritages, Jiangnan culture, and folk culture, in a meticulously way," said Zhang Disha, one of the chief choreographer of the dance drama.

"We hope that through this production, the audience can not only feel the warmth and power of Li's poetry but also be inspired to show more interest and love for traditional culture," said Liu Xiaohe, another chief choreographer of the dance drama.