Legend of the Sun at Sadler’s Wells
Legend of the Sun is an epic dance drama that has its roots in a Chinese folktale but is still touching and wonderful for a modern audience. The story concerns an ambitious quest for sunshine, first undertaken by a pregnant Ma, and later continued by her son Le. The narrative allows for a range of ensembles: group dances in the villages and storms, duets between Le, his mother and his love interest Sister Teng, and Le and Sister Teng’s solo dances when they are travelling alone.
The dance style is both purposeful and graceful, a cross between the storytelling aspects of ballet, the raw power of contemporary dance and the cultural importance of traditional folk dance. There is real emotion conveyed too, the death of Le’s mother causing many a wet eye and the bolshy, clumsy antics of the village youths eliciting more than a few chuckles from the audience.
Much of the show’s beauty comes from the environment surrounding the dancers. Ju Yi’s simple yet versatile stage design becomes a forest, a village, a cave and much more, all facilitated by Sun Yangtai’s masterful use of the lighting. Xu Liya’s intricate and majestic costumes allow the dancers to fit into this environment, but are also simple and free enough to allow the effortless dance that makes this production so captivating.
The most praise must go to Li Ying, Cui Zhenbo and Li Jialin for their portrayal of Ma, Le, and Sister Teng respectively. We follow their rise and fall and share in their emotions through their dance. We see them battle tigers, travel tirelessly and survive huge storms. Despite the fact we never hear them speak a word, we’re with them all the way.
Legend of the Sun is currently on tour around Europe, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Legend of the Sun here: