choreography and direction Wang Mengfan
dramaturgy Chen Danlu
music and sound design Tan Shuoxin
light design Ma Bo
video He Shaotong
with Chen Guohua, Liu Lei, Liu Meiying, Tian Ying, Xu Hong, Zhao Ju
coproduction Beijing Penghao Theatre, Beijing Nanluoguxiang Performing Arts Festival
Running time 50′
This story starts with a community called Dama, a community consists of millions of middle age Chinese women. They dance, everywhere in China, everyday. Their dance is known in China as Square Dancing – which is vastly different from its Western counterpart – a form of collective dancing activity that takes place in public squares, plazas or parks in the cities, days and nights.
Six Damas are the protagonists of this dance theatre. Born in the 50s and 60s of the last century, they belong to a generation that was marked by the idea and reality of collectivity that was heavily Socialist in nature. They have no professional dancing experience, but only a piece of glorious memory about dancing, back in the time of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), when modernised folk dance was widely performed as the national propaganda program. This memory defines their understanding of “dance” and shapes their “dance” that is haunting the nation again today. 50/60 invites Dama to share and express their collective memory through dancing. It reveals how their bodies have been shaped by different aesthetics, ideologies and cultures, by meticulous constructions of self-identity during the last fifty years.
Born in China in 1990, the director Wang Mengfan graduated from The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. 50/60 shows her first attempt working as choreographer. During the eight months working with Damas, the director guides them to tell personal stories by asking specific questions, which always related to a piece of body memory – a movement.
These materials are collected and translated into a new form on the stage. It is a working process initiated and polished by the dialogue between the young generation (Post-’80 and ’90) representing by the choreographer and her parents’ generation.