In celebration of the upcoming Spring Festival and the transition to the new year, UCCA presents a series of performances, talks, and workshops featuring artists who have reshaped our understanding of traditional Asian art.
Meridian takes its title from Traditional Chinese Medicine’s model of a body crisscrossed by channels that transport qi and blood, an alternative to Western anatomy which continues to be used today. Rather than understanding traditional art mediums as relics, we might view them as a network of intersecting past, present and future concerns. For this three-day festival, members of the public are invited to join artists and performers to explore the novel possibilities of traditional mediums, reexamining their assumptions about these mediums, learning about the ways in which traditional techniques are used in contemporary art, and mapping out the development of these art forms within varying spatial and temporal contexts.
For the opening night of the festival, UCCA presents renowned choreographer Zhao Liang’s latest production Martial Art in Dance: WUShu, and the Beijing premiere of Plucked Ink, a group performance by Japanese calligrapher Mami and Japanese musician Sakata Atsushi aka Tokyo Ghetto Shamisen.
2.2 (Fri) 19:00-20:10 Martial Art in Dance: WUShu
2.2 (Fri) 20:20-21:00 Plucked Ink
Type of Event: Performance
Location: UCCA Pavilion
Meridian: UCCA Spring Festival at UCCA will kick off with the Beijing premiere of Zhao Liang’s “Martial Art in Dance: WUshu.” “WUShu,” choreographed and produced by independent dance studio ZhaoLiang ART, is Director Zhao Liang’s latest production since his “Soul & Desire Trilogy,” and was the only dance piece commissioned by 19th China Shanghai International Arts Festival. By exploring the relationship between Tai Chi and Cha Quan with weapons like broadswords, spears, rods, and swords, the physical contact leads to their fusion, creating a balance between martial arts and dance, rigidity and placidity, separation and reunion, creation and destruction.
The words for martial art and dance are phonetically analogous in Chinese, having distinct manifestations, but growing from a common root. Martial artists know when to attack and when to defend, and to emphasize the connection between the self and the external world. Dancers are versed in the relationship between motion and stillness, placing themselves in the space separating human confusion and spiritual inquiries to the universe. “Martial Art in Dance: WUShu” seeks to combine martial arts and dance, dissolving the boundary between them by returning to the core of physical movement.
“Martial Art in Dance: WUShu” both honors and reinterprets traditional Chinese culture, endeavoring “change its form but keep its essence.” The movement from chaos to order, the flights and falls of the mind, and the intake and outtake of breath, are all reflected in this performance.
100 RMB/UCCA Member
*Enjoy UCCA Member ticket prices with the purchase of a yearly membership card (RMB 300);
*Collect your ticket from reception 30 minutes before the event begins;
*Please no late entry;
*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;
*Please keep mobile devices on silent.
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Zhao Liang (Choreographer)
Zhao Liang is a contemporary dancer and Artistic Director of Zhaoliang ART. He incorporates a wide range of styles in his work, and his bold and original choreography has led to German media calling him the “Shepard from the Orient.” His most recent work includes Boundless Relationships, The True Nature, and A Bizarre Story. His “Soul & Desire Trilogy”—Dreams of Zen, The Tea Spell, and Escaping from the Temple—set box office records, and was positively received by audiences both at home and abroad.
American-born electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist thruoutin has been based in China since 2009. His work varies from project to project, but often revolves around the combining of different genres, with a focus on organic and digital sounds. He has brought his music to Canada, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and various cities in both the US and China. In addition to self-releases, thruoutin has also been featured on such labels as Jingweir (Beijing), Huashan (Shanghai), 87Fei87 (Beijing), LABAREDA (Lisbon), Senzu Collective (North Hollywood), Aud-Art (Pittsburgh), and Ran Music (Beijing).
Liu Hengzhi (Lighting Designer)
Liu Hengzhi graduated with a major in stage lighting design from the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. From 2010 to 2014 Liu worked for Beijing Dance Theater and Beijing Damu Cultural Development Company. During that period he helped produce dance productions including The Book of Mountains and Seas, Lotus, Hamlet, Wild Grass, Color of Love, Harvest, Middle, director Lin Taohua’s The Master Builder, Five Acts of Life: Lao She’s Short Stories, The Lobbyist, Go Home, as well as director Li Liuyi’s theatrical staging of The Golden Cangue and Antigone. Liu has worked on productions in over ten countries, including the US, Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Israel, Mexico, Columbia, and Ecuador, and participated in a number of international and local art festivals.
Wudi (Scenic Designer)
Wudi graduated from the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts with a Bachelor’s in Stage Design. He has worked as the cinematographer for CCTV-5’s television program The World of Sports, and Artistic Director of China CCYS, and is currently the Scenic Designer for the Central Nationalities Song and Dance Ensemble, and Artistic Director for the Beijing Shidu Kongjian Design Company. He has also provided artistic direction for a number of large-scale stage, film, and television productions. Wudi is the recipient of a first place prize at the University Theater Festival, and Chu Tian Wen Hua Scenic Design Prize.
Wang Jia (Stylist)
Wang Jia is the founder of Jia Studio Beauty School, President of Jimi Fashion Design School, and contributing stylist for China’s International Fashion Week. Wang has been named several times as one of China’s top ten makeup artists and stylists, and was Head Stylist for Cosmo’s Annual Makeup Gala, a live concert by Dadawa, the international tour for The Voice of China, the Sixth Beijing College Student Film Festival, and theater productions such as The Tea Spell, The Moon Opera, and Painted Skin.
Li Yu (Performer: Cudgel)
Li Yu graduated from the Dance Department at the People’s Liberation Army Arts College in 2007, and subsequently joined the Air Force Cultural Troupe. He performed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, 2008 Beijing Olympics Gymnastics Award Ceremony, 90th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party Gala, African tour for the All-Chinese Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, CCTV-5 Sports Personality of the Year Ceremony, singer Tan Weiwei’s performance of Flowery Night on TV show Star of China, Zhou Bichang’s music video for her song Two Traps, and Zhang Yimou’s 2047 Apologue. Li also represented the Air Force during a performance in North Korea. His solo piece, Box, won first prize for modern dance at the 10th Lotus Awards. Li performed in We Stand on the Banks of the Yellow River, which won first prize at the 8th Lotus Awards. He also danced in the production A Feather, which won first prize at the 8th Overseas Taoli Cup and CCTV’s National Dance Competition. He received silver medals for solo performances during the 9th Military Cultural Performances, the solo performance Fan~Memory at the 7th Lotus Awards, and the solo performance Far Away Thoughts at the 9th National Dance Competition, and the group performance Go to the Flames of War at the 8th Lotus Awards. Li has also performed in Song of Red Plums, Qi Feng Tian Fu, Escaping From the Temple, Slow Motion, How Strange You Are to Me, etc.
Gong Xingxing (Performer: Sword)
Gong Xingxing was born in Xinjiang, graduated from the secondary school at the People’s Liberation Army Arts College, and completed her Bachelor’s in Modern Dance in the Choreography Department at Beijing Dance Academy. She has been a member of the Beijing Modern Dance Troupe, and the principal dancer at both TAO Dance Theater and Beijing Dance LDTX. Gong has been invited to perform in numerous countries, including Belgium, Canada, Israel, Tunisia, Albania, India, and the US. Her major choreographed works include Exit, The Man in the Case, Outside Social Convention, Quicksand, A Space, and The Path I Walk. In 2013 Gong participated and won the main prize for the “Second International Ballet and Choreography Competition” at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (CHNCPA), and won the top prize from Beijing Xiaoxing Ballet Art Development Foundation at the “Third International Ballet and Choreography Competition.”
Zhang Kun (Performer: Broadsword)
Zhang Kun is one of China’s top athletes, having won multiple medals at the Hunan Martial Arts Competition, and named champion of free boxing, staff technique, and broadsword technique at the 2013 Hunan Youth Martial Arts Competition. He was awarded one gold medal, two silver medals, and one bronze medal at the National Middle School Martial Arts Championship. In 2016 Zhang participated in the National Martial Arts Competition, winning silver medal for his broadsword technique, and the bronze for Xingyi Boxing.
Zhang Zhenguo (Performer: Spear)
After graduating from the People’s Liberation Army Arts College in 2017, Zhang Zhenguo joined the Shanghai Song and Dance Troupe, of which he is still a member. While in school, he performed in a number of countries, including Mexico and New Zealand. In 2014 he was one of the dancers in Forward, Forward at the Military Cultural Performances, which went on to win the top prize. In 2015 Zhang performed in Moulting for “Young Artists Platform of Dance,” which premiered at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. In 2016 he participated in an intensive training camp with the Netherlands Dance Theater, and performed in Two Bodies with the China Ethnic Song and Dance Ensemble. In that same year, Zhang was awarded first prize at the “Red Star Cup” Dance Competition at the People’s Liberation Army Arts College, and performed in Seven Feet by the China National Arts Fund. In 2017, Zhang was involved in a special performance of “Young Artists Platform of Dance.”
Liao Yuanwu (Performer: Sword)
Liao Yuanwu is one of China’s top martial arts athletes, a national first-level martial arts referee, a graduate of Beijing Sport University, and a retired member of the Jiangxi Martial Arts Group. He placed fourth in the category of men’s swordsmanship in the 2006 National Wushu Routine Competition, and first in the category of Xiangxing Boxing at the National Traditional Sports Championship, as well as being named swordsmanship champion and podao champion during the 2010 Beijing Sport University Wushu Routine Competition. In 2010 he represented the Chinese Martial Arts team in an Italian performance tour, and went to represent China in Kuala Lumpur in 2011 and Cologne in 2012.
Li Nan (Performer: Broadsword)
Li Nan is an independent dancer currently residing in Beijing, and graduate of the Choreography Department at Beijing Dance Academy. He has performed in many productions at home and abroad, including Tino Sehgal’s This Variation and Hohei’s “Tras La Velo.” From 2013 to 2016 Li collaborated with Gu Jiani to establish GONSPACE, which explores the possibilities for performance in nontraditional spaces, including galleries and museums. Li has performed in One’s Side and One Left, One Right at the Guangdong Dance Festival, Melborne Arts Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, and the University of Michigan. In 2016, his performance, Bolt, premiered at the Shanghai International Arts Festival. He performed in Zhao Liang’s 2011 Soul & Desire Trilogy: Dreams of Zen, The Tea Spell, and Escaping from the Temple, as well as the 2017 performance, WUshu. A long-time collaborator of Zhao Liang, Li has appeared in a great number of his works, prompting Zhao to tell him, “We’re attached at the hip.”
Cao Peizhong (Performer: Tai Chi)
Cao Peizhong is a graduate from the dance department at Minzu University of China. Having worked in the Beijing Modern Dance Troupe before becoming an independent choreographer and dancer, his works include Wandering in Unfettered Freedom, Born in July, Walking Up to the 21st Floor, Bliss, Under the Skin, Accidentally, Water Asks, Tower of Babel, Solo, and Life is Filled With Light. Cao has performed as part of a group in a number of countries, and has been invited to perform in the Festival d’Avignon, Madrid Arts Festival, Rome International Arts Festival, Venice Biennale, and Canberra Arts Festival. He performed in Zhao Liang’s The Tea Spell in 2011, and Escaping from the Temple in 2015 at the Shanghai International Arts Festival. Cao’s solo work is focused on integrating Eastern aesthetics with modern and contemporary forms, and he has been invited a number of times to collaborate with various major national art schools. He choreographed for dance productions Xi Yi, which received the Denny Award in Beijing for International Excellence in Theatrical Arts, and Theory of Evolution, children’s play The Magic Aster, the musical production of Jane Eyre, Magic of Jiyu, large-scale production The Many Colors of Guizhou, Dali, Happiness of Nirvana, and Birthday Song.
Aiys Song (Special Guest Cellist)
Founder of SONGZHAOART, Song Dynasty Design Studio, and the CANON series music brand, Aiys Song is a cellist, experimental musician, and visual art designer. He is active in theater, ballet, film, television, and the Chinese contemporary art world. Song has participated in the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Melbourne Festival, the Asia Society, the Coil Festival, the Israel International Arts Festival, the German DAAD Art Music Foundation, the German Siemens Music Foundation, the Audi Hero Music Festival, the Beijing International Music Festival, the CCOM Music Festival, the Hennessy Music Festival, and more. He is a cofounder of Silent Club, Song Dynasty Design Studio, Attic Beijing, Kubi & Aiys, and the “Yun—A Silent Place” Music Festival. His virtuosic cello skills have been praised by renowned musicians and conductors Mstislav Rostropovich and Issac Stern. He directed and organized In Bloom—Performance of Music and Chinese Traditional Art for the WRFS Regional Competition in 2016, and two performances for Xi’an International University’s 25th anniversary performance, Silk: Contemporary Eastern Art of Music in 2017.
Type of Event: Performance
Location: UCCA Nave
Mami and Tokyo Ghetto Shamisen are a young Japanese performance duo, incorporating Japanese calligraphy, graffiti, traditional shamisen melodies, and contemporary music all into a single performance, celebrating and reimagining their possibilities.
*Seating is limited; ticket-holders for WUShu, and those who have reserved a space online enjoy priority seating;
*Collect your ticket from reception 30 minutes before the event begins;
*Please no late entry;
*Please keep mobile devices on silent.
Mami (b. 1990) began learning calligraphy at the age of nine, going on to major in it in at Daito University. After graduating, she began to develop her unique style, a fusion of the visual linguistic art of Shodo, Japanese calligraphy, and graffiti. She now participates in more than 80 events a year in hopes of introducing the world of Shodo to others, as well as creating paintings and other visual art.
Sakata Atsushi aka Tokyo Ghetto Shamisen (Shamisen Musician)
Sakata Atsushi aka Tokyo Ghetto Shamisen is a contemporary Japanese musician whose free-spirited style offsets the traditional Japanese shamisen he plays. A student of the renowned musician, Takahashi Chikuzan, he transforms typical shamisen melodies into contemporary music whose distinctly rhythmic quality resonates deeply with listeners. Sakata integrates experiences from his daily life into his work, and often takes inspiration from, and performs in, natural settings. He frequently collaborates with creative figures from other fields, creating cross-disciplinary work that appears on nontraditional stages.
- UCCA Pavilion, UCCA Nave