Wang Yuanyuan’s “Wild Grass”
Beijing Dance Theater
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
October 22, 2014
by George Jackson
© 2014 by George Jackson
Each of the three acts in “Wild Grass” might almost have been a separate, different dance. Within each act, however, the dynamic seemed uniform. Movement didn’t germinate, grow, culminate, resolve. Sections from just after each start to just before each curtain closure could have been switched without appearing to be out of sequence. This homogeneity of large swaths of action wasn’t due to choreographer/director Wang Yuanyuan’s step vocabulary, which seemed ample. Nor was the fault that of her dancers, who are a skilled and disciplined group. Might musicality have been the problem, lack of impetus between sound and movement? Was there too much reliance on a merely atmospheric correspondence between what the eye sees and the ear hears? Inspiration for this dance work was the 1927 poetry of Lu Xun (1881 – 1936), in which Yuanyuan found only what is “burnt and dead” and not “life’s giddy, excruciating bliss”.
Dancers of the Beijing Dance Company in "Wild Grass." Photo by Han Jiang.