Free Man from the South is a dance theatre production created in 2020 by dancers of BeijingDance/LDTX and led by the company’s artistic director Willy Tsao. Named after the first line of poem Song of Mount Lu – To Censor Lu Xuzhou by the Tang dynasty poet Li Bai, this production itself is inspired by the poet’s poems.
Compared with the “hardly intelligible” contemporary dance performances that we usually watch, Free Man from the South is undoubtedly easy to comprehend. When the poems by Li Bai are recited one after another by the dancers, we can clearly understand each of them and their corresponding dance routine. Meanwhile, the creator gives different instructions for different poems: some are read after, some before and some at the same time as the dance. The dancers’ costumes and stage music also change with the different imagery of the poems in each act.
By Yang Xiaoluan
Theatre promoter, critic, veteran performer, and founder of self-media Theatre Go Round
This article is excerpted and translated from Chinese