12 June 2015
Live and Dance - It's all we can do
Fault Lines begins with a lone dancer. Then one becomes a crowd. Each person has a mobile phone, and they are absorbed and self-absorbed. Quickly they move across the stage… But, like very small children playing together, they move beside one another, but don’t interact – yet.
What makes this one such a moving and powerful dance production? I think it’s beautiful ensemble work, and its history.
When the 2008 earthquake struck the Sichuan province of China, many of the dancers’ own families were affected. Immediately the Leshan Dance Company responded with a short dance piece Hands Rebirth. Dance became a way of processing personal grief and trauma. The later collaboration between Leshan Dance Company and Christchurch-born choreographer/director Sara Brodie resulted in Fault Lines - a contemporary Western dance combined with traditional Chinese ethnic choreography.
In this production there is the underlying message that sometimes the only way humans can fully express the emotional scope of their existence is through art and imagery. Out of tragedy dance then becomes a powerful means of communication and personal expression.
The music is haunting, and the staging minimalistic. A single shoe becomes symbolic of the destructive quality of earthquakes. White fabric strips hanging from the ceiling and softly billowing give the impression of being trapped underground, with limited air. There’s a shifting balance between light and darkness, where a beam of light can indicate hope, of survival and of life beyond trauma.
Projected text on a screen gives the audience background information in both English and Chinese, but the language that really communicates is the movement of the dancers. Skilfully their bodies interweave behind danger tape, taking turns in the spotlight. Like one long caterpillar they lie on the ground and move in synch gradually re-enacting an escape from a tunnel under rubble. When they dance together, they support one another fully. There’s a commitment evident - to each other, and to telling the story of earthquake survival.
Fault Lines does what great art can and should do – it transcends language and cultural barriers, and moves you emotionally. It is truly an ensemble production.
Performers and Crew
Choreography & concept
Lighting & AV Design
Set & Costume Design
Conductor of CSO
Jan MacLeod & Jane Zeng
Zhang Yan (Dance Captain), Zhang Hao, Xu Yi, Peng Rui, Wang Sizhu, Xie Xingfei, Meng Dan, Wang Xue, Deng Linxun, Liu Wei, Jiang Lu, Huang Yongxiang, Aluo Weiqi, Peng Miaomiao, Yang Lingshuang, Zhang Meishuang, Wang Siyang, Mu Yuhong
Music performed by
Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (NZ), Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra (Beijing)