Soulful Steps introduces the audience to a variety of dances from across Asia, specifically Tibetan, Kazakh, Dai, and Mongol. A cultural dance feast for a western man who craves dances from around the world.
The performance of Soulful Steps unfolds with an incredible band of four musicians providing fitting music compositions to the seven different solos and a group piece. Part-narrative, part-concert, the music plays the crucial role of gelling the performances together as well as providing a mysterious atmosphere for the evening.
Each dance solo displays a single take on dance, having dancers caring on their backs tradition, pride, and perseverance. In the third piece, Tan Junyuan is precise and assertive with the dance material while entertaining the audience in moments of wonder – extending his long limbs. A cheeky smile grabs the audience’s attention adding drama to the already illustrative narrative.
Costumes play a significant part in this performance as they look traditional and not of the rack. In the Mongolian dance, Hao Na spins and turns around endlessly in a circle capturing the essence on infinity, leaving behind a trace of time and movement in the wavy-long-circle-skirt and finding an arresting finale with the shoulder blades touching the floor in slow motion.
The second last performance introduces an acutely beautiful dancer. Swirling on the floor, she carefully unravels a vividly long piece of red fabric, wrapped around the head and upper body. In here, costume becomes trace again printing a significant memory on stage while the dancer takes over the floor with beautiful gestures and imaginative expression.
Soulful Steps is an evening of dance and music from around Asia. Welcoming the audience into traditions hidden in the mountains of China, Mongolia, and Tibet. One can reflect on history and folklore, looking back into the past, from a very far away western culture. It feels comfortable and close to my heart.