Hong Kong modern dance show HerStory (in Chinese "Nv Shu") will be staged in National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on March 4 and 5. It is a production of Hong Kong City Contemporary Dance Company's renowned choreographer Helen Lai.
Still from HerStory [chncpa.org]
Nu Shu (literally means "women's writing") is an ancient language invented and used only among women in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province. It was passed down from generation to generation and no men were allowed to learn. Its origin cannot be confirmed yet but it is believed to have existed for hundreds of years.
Lai was inspired by a female writer Luo Wanyi's book about Nu Shu and was moved by their feelings and moods shown in the language. In the show there will be a recording of songs by an old woman in that area. Lai believes the sisterhood can be shared and understood by audiences from all over the world.
Helen Lai talks about the idea of HerStory. [China.org.cn]
"'Nu Shu' for me means women trying to express themselves through writing and dancing. I use many Chinese elements such as fans and handkerchiefs, on which the women would write the letters to communicate with each other. When they got married and left home, they sent back these things to their female friends," Lai says.
The show consists of three parts. The first is about the oppression of women and their efforts to express themselves. There are moments of tranquility but also violence and struggle. The second part includes projection of excerpts from two women writers Xixi and Huang Biyun, whose books focus on women's life and desire, to emphasize the theme of the show. It also contains a lot of Western music to reflect modern women's position. "Nowadays we women think we are librated but there are still moments when we see ourselves through the eyes of men," Lai says. In the third part she gives a lot of blank papers to the dancers to play around freely. This part is to commemorate Lai's late mother, who was a journalist and writer.
The dance was premiered in Hong Kong in 2007 and gained wide popularity. It was staged in Guangzhou in 2008. Lai is working on a new piece called "Tale of Two Cities" which will be premiered in late May during Shanghai Expo.
Time: 19:30, March 4-5
Venue: Multi-functional Theatre of NCPA
Price: 180-380 yuan
Tel: 010-6655 0000