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A moving tribute

By Chen Nan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-05 08:09

Choreographer Fei Bo sits in a rehearsal room of the National Ballet of China and works with the dancers. [Photo/China Daily]

One of the 10 dance works is The Peony Pavilion, which premiered in Beijing in 2008. Adapted from the classic Kunqu Opera piece written by Tang Xianzu of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), with the same title, it was Fei's first solo, full-length ballet choreography, while working with veteran theater director Li Liuyi and celebrated composer Guo Wenjing. Fei was 28 years old at the time. Parts of The Peony Pavilion will be staged during this week's performances.

The story follows Du Liniang, the young daughter of a high-ranking official, who meets the young scholar Liu Mengmei in a dream. Du awakens and pines for her phantasmal lover, then dies, leaving behind a self-portrait. Liu happens to be a real person, who through sheer accident, ends up staying in Du's town. He discovers her painting, and falls in love with her. Then the underworld judge, moved by their undying love, sends Du back to the mortal world, where the lovers finally unite.

"I was very nervous about working with those artists, but I was very relaxed about my choreography because I had lots of ideas about this classic work. In the story, love, desire, suffering, departure and death happen between the time Du closes her eyes and later awakes. It is very beautiful," says Fei, adding that, after the premiere of the dance production, he had dinner with the dancers and creative team.

"I fainted during the dinner. When I woke up, I was in a hospital. Maybe I was exhausted or maybe I was too excited."

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