The Red Dress at the David H. Koch Theater

Article by Ka Yee Chan & Yinsana Mok
Phoo credit: Niko

In this Spring, March 6 – 9 at the David H. Koch Theater, following its remarkable engagements of The Peony Pavilion and Silk Road at Lincoln Center, China Arts and Entertainment Group returns with the U.S. premiere of a new dance theater piece called The Red Dress. The evenings were filled with mixed emotions, and most importantly the touching love between a young man and woman.

The Red Dress tells the story of a young Chinese woman’s dream. The story consists of four acts: “Dream Love,” “Dream Farewell,” “Dream Return,” and “Dream Wedding.” The young man, A’yong, and the young woman, Yue’er, are both from rich families in an ancient town in Southern China. They were childhood playmates, and as they grew, so did their love.

As A’yong matured, he decided to go out of town, and decided he would return after achieving success through hard work. With the promise of marriage, Yue’er waited for many seasons and years. Every now and then, she would try on the red wedding dress and her red bellyband.

The opening of the show started with an Asian key that unlocks itself slowly following the background music. After the door opens, there was old furniture with red spotlights focused on the young woman’s room. It matches well with the theme of this show – The Red Dress. Yue’er waited for him in a red wedding dress for years, because of a promise of marriage they made. In the last act, “Dream Wedding,” it was unclear and unknown whether or not it was reality, or Yue’er’s desperate dream of A’yong returning, and finally getting married. The truth of the ending didn’t matter as much, because the maiden dream of Yue’er and her love of A’yong were all within her.

The Red Dress features a company of more than 45 dancers who bring this astonishing tale to life through grand spectacle and movement. The stage setting itself played an important role in the acts, and all the dancers came out with traditional ancient clothes. Some were ordinary girls walking with umbrellas by the river or washing clothes, villagers crossing the bridge in the middle, a guy carrying farming tools, and others bypassing in the back. The dances were really elegant, and meaningful through the entire show.

The color usage also brightened the eyes of the audiences, such as green umbrellas, pink cherry blossoms, the red lanterns, and the beautiful colors of the traditional Asian costumes. It really made audiences feel like they are in the traditional Asian culture. The backgrounds almost melt together, and create unbelievable, enchanted scenes. You will experience the dances, their lifestyle, based on the performance, and the deep story behind this show. The most stunning part of the story was when the two performers showed how they spent their time together and how deep their love was.

Main actor and actress with Director Wang Xiaoying, Consul General Sun Guoxiang's wife Wang Min, Deputy Consul General Zhang Meifang

The Red Dress is directed by Wang Xlaying, with choreography by Yim Mei, and the Composer is Lan Tian. The Stage Art designer is Dai Yannian and the Lighting Designer is Xing Xin.

The spectacular production is presented by The China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG), a creative enterprise under the administration of the Ministry of Culture for the People’s Republic of China. The engagement is the third production in the hope of an ongoing relationship between CAEG and the David H. Koch Theater. These presentations showcase China’s historical contribution to the world of theater and art by presenting the finest in Chinese contemporary and classical performing arts to the United States.

Consul General Sun Guoxiang

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