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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Erotica on stage

By Chen Nan  (China Daily)

10:44, November 21, 2011

It is dance drawn from one of the most sensual books in Chinese history. The specially commissioned production for an arts festival was a sell-out success, but it may never be staged in the mainland. Chen Nan talks to Wang Yuanyuan, the choreographer of The Golden Lotus.

For Wang Yuanyuan, her stage adaptation of the 16th-century Chinese novel, Jin Ping Mei, or The Golden Lotus, was her most frustrating, exhausting, but also most satisfying, work.

That's saying a lot, considering her stable of works ranges from choreography for the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony to putting together China's most avant-garde dance productions, including Raise the Red Lantern and Haze.

The Golden Lotus, a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) novel, has been considered one of China's naughtiest erotic works and has been banned for its explicit portrayal of sex, adultery and corruption in a decadent society.

The book devotes itself to narrating the sexual exploits of Ximen Qing and his many lovers, especially his three most famous mistresses - Pan Jinlian, Li Ping'er and Pang Chunmei - for whom the book takes its title. In her adaptation, Wang has focused on how the women feel, their fragility and delicacy. In a sense, she became their guardian angel.

For Wang, dance is the best way to capture the essence of the tale.

"Dance is abstract. It accurately captures sexual energy and leaves the audiences space for imagination," the award-winning former prima ballerina says.

The attention to detail that Wang goes into can be seen from a 5-minute video widely posted on the Internet.

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