How to describe Folklorama’s Chinese Pavilion in the Dynasty Building at 180 King Street? Well, you’ll get a warm welcome there from everyone associated with the pavilion; organizers and volunteers alike.
It’s also a riot of colour and laughter. The 14 performers come from Winnipeg’s sister city Chengdu in the Sichuan province. Chengdu Contemporary Arts Centre is famous for the professionalism and caliber of its performers so you’re in for a treat.
The dance numbers featuring the female performers are beautifully choreographed and the dancers manage to seem playful and mischievous while using fans and elaborate headdresses, in some cases, to create a mesmerizing spectacle. Their coordinated bright outfits and artful hairstyles are perfect for the light tones of the pieces.
Power is a Chinese circus act featuring three young men. They use incredible strength to create seemingly impossible tableaus using only their bodies.
The female circus act is just as much a standout. It involves painted Chinese paper parasols spinning on toes, and fingers in different configurations. It takes years to become proficient at all the different tricks.
And they saved the best for last. The Face Changing Dance (or Bian Lian) is unique to the Sichuan Opera and you’ll be left scratching your head and wondering how they do it. It’s a closely guarded secret and one very few performers have mastered. The music is hypnotic and upbeat. it’s a really strong performance with cloaks and different masks and fans. .
This pavilion is more than just a great show. You can have your name translated into mandarin and an artist will then paint the characters for you. This piece of Chinese calligraphy says “Folklorama ” in Mandarin.
There’s also a tea tasting area staffed with certified tea sommeliers. The sommeliers like sharing their knowledge and will let you know what notes can be tasted in the tea sample. Just don’t expect to find them all – I couldn’t.
There’s also mah-jong to play, as well as many other activities.
Just a reminder the final shows by the performers from Changdu will be on Thursday. Local performers will be onstage for the weekend shows.