Ghost Dance

Shrouded in mystery, thousands of years old and hidden from society for 500 years, Ghost Dance brings to life the ancient Chinese performance (Nuo) of superstition, ritual and ceremony.

The Nuo rite and drama have been a part of Chinese culture dating back 2,500 years.

"Modern interest in the ancient Nuo rite and drama did not take a strong hold in China until the 1980s. The West discovered Nuo through Zhang Yimou's successful new release of Riding Alone for Thousands of Mile," says Hao.

Hao Zhou, child acrobatic and dance protégée in China and renowned principal operatic tenor in both Australia and China decided to bring this ancient dance to Australia. "I discovered the Jiu Jiang dance troupe in Nanchang City at the International Nuo Festival early in 2006. Nuo means 'ghost' in Chinese. I instantly connected with the energy of the show – the dancing was emotive, filled with secrecy and drama, the drumming dynamic and exciting," says Hao.

"The story," he continues, "is a beautiful one. It follows life's narrative through the eyes of Nuo, the life spirit. The work moves through each stage of life through love, loss, family and ageing. Lovers find each other through song – calling to each other, if you like, until they find their soul mate."

For the Australian production, Hao Zhou returned to mainland China to cast 18 of the country's best dancers. A ninety minute show, Ghost Dance's modernised musical score mirrors the beauty and mysticism of this traditional and mysterious art form.

"It was very exciting to create the music for this piece. We worked with a 70 piece orchestra along with 60 solo and ensemble singers to create an evocative and emotive musical score. Drumming is pivotal to this piece and creates a striking rhythm and heart beat to the work," says Hao.

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