The Hong Kong Dance Company presents the Legend of Mulan with a unique combination of ballet, traditional Chinese dance, contemporary dance and martial arts. The dancers are highly trained in all dance forms, with dazzling acrobatic abilities, balanced by grace and strength.
The ancient Chinese story tells the tale of a young village girl who takes the place of her father and joins the army, where she endures harsh battles to become a hero and falls in love with a warrior.
The production showcases the exquisite principal dancer Pan Lingjuan as the maiden Mulan. Pan is superbly flexible, gifted with immense extensions, and beautifully soft and elegant arms.
As Mulan she’s gives an emotional performance, she dances joyfully with her father (Huang Lei) in a touching pas de deux, she shows deep pain and longing when on the road, she’s strong in battle and sweetly elegant as a young maiden. Sun Gongwei gives a commanding performance as the General who is regal and proud.
Set against a dramatic musical score the male dancers dressed in dark battle clothes form an army that executes complex leaps and flying jump combinations. They backflip and tumble across the stage brandishing fighting sticks and circular shields.
The performance becomes a showcase of acrobatic and gymnastic prowess, with large flags waved accompanied by booming nationalistic music.
The masculine army is contrast by the delicate female dancers in long floating white costumes, dancing demurely with elegance. There’s a lovely scene where they carry golden Chinese lanterns as they present Mulan newly returned from war, dressed as a young beautiful maiden once more.
In the end Mulan and her Father are reunited, good triumphs over evil and the brave and selfless are rewarded and celebrated. The Hong Kong Dance Company dancers would be proud of their performance.
The Legend of Mulan at Southbank Centre 15 April 2017.