Dream of the Red Chamber

The Dream of the Red Chamber is arguably the greatest book in the canon of Chinese literature that follows the tragic story of love and marriage amongst the three main characters: Baoyu, Daiyu and Baochai, who are the scions of a great noble family. Besides the tragic romance, the novel reflects the era’s social reality and societal changes of a typical feudal family. The Dream of the Red Chamber is not only China’s greatest literary work but also an important historical treasure in the research of China’s ancient official title system, philosophy, culture and social customs. The Dream of the Red Chamber is an all-encompassing integration of the humanities throughout the centuries.

The dance’s hypnotic blend of Chinese traditional and modern choreography presents an evening narrative in the riveting rhythms of human emotions, danced against a backdrop of riotous color that can only come from China.

[flagallery gid=16 name=”HLM Dance Drama Picts”]

The Beijing Friendship Dance Company

Founded in December, 1937 in the Jin Cha Ji region, The Beijing Friendship Dance Company is one of the oldest performance troupes in China. For over half a century’s time, it has created many Chinese music and dance master pieces such as “The Long March Chorus.” The Dream of the Red Chamber is one of the famous Four Classic Literature Works of China. The idea to perform this great work of art began in late 1990’s with the choreography taking shape shortly. After years of hard work the production was completed in 2004. The Company has longed to perform this piece on stage.

The Story
In ancient Nanjing, a boy was born into the great Jia Family with a rare jade in his mouth. As a result, he was named Boayu (The Jade) and quickly became the favorite of all of who lived at the great Rong Palace. Baoyu, with inborn tenderness and affection, cared for those around him, especially for his cousin, Daiyu. Her mother died when she was a child leaving her alone in the world. They grow close when Baoyu becomes a rebel against his feudal family, objecting to the idea of scholarly honor and official rank. Daiyu is the only one who understands him and love becomes a deep bond built on mutual understanding. She finds Baoyu to be her only true love, but the love between Baoyu and Daiyu is challenged by Boachi, a more charming and popular cousin of Baoyu that leads Baoyu’s family to choose Boachi as Baoyu’s bride. Daiyu then falls into depression and weeps to death causing Baoyu to leave his family and become a secluded monk who lives out his days in spiritual contemplation.


“Amidst awe-inspiring sets, graceful dancers in breathtakingly beautiful costumes”
– Electronic Link Journey
“A stunning beginning to a New Year and a deeply appreciated gift”
– Electronic Link Journey
“The dancers’ excellent dancing technique, the dazzling lighting, and the smart stage set design, all together, adapted this classic Chinese literature to a dance production on the stage in a tragically beautiful way. The marvelous production blew the audience away.”
– Sing Tao Daily
“Dancers illustrated every character’s unique personality, destiny and emotions through their outstanding dancing technique, on the marvelous but poetic stage.”
– China Press
“Song Li’s costume design was colorful and fabulous, especially the design for Madam Jia’s crown, which looked as impressive as Gong Li’s crown in the movie, Curse Of The Golden Flower.”
– World Journal
“After the performance was over, the applause continued for more than 10 minutes. Many audience members, with tears in their eyes, were so deeply touched that they couldn’t manage to walk away from the theatre.”
– Jie Fang Daily
“(UN Deputy Secretary-General) Migiro told the Journalist from Xinhua News after the performance, ‘The performance was fabulous, with very high artistic values. It allowed me to get to know more about the essence of Chinese Culture.'”
– Xinhua Net

The Dance Synopsis

Prelude: The Land of Illusion

An illusive world seems to be an enormous jade. The vivid characters appear to be in love. A bittersweet story is predicted to come out.

Scene 1, Act 1: Rong Palace

Daiyu seeks refuge with family Jia which has four generations living together. The prosperity of this family and its strict class system impose Daiyu with strong loneliness. The appearance of Baochai causes Daiyu and Baoyu to fall in love at the first sight, arousing complex moods and feelings.

Scene 1, Act 2: Crabapple Flower Poem Class

Grandmother Liu comes to the Grand Garden to visit Grandma JIA. Baoyu, Daiyu and Baochai recite poetry with other girls. Enjoying a literary and artistic talent, Daiyu seems envious as she misunderstands Baoyu’s emotion towards Baochai. Seeing the flowers in the garden withering and falling, she can not help feeling upset and buries the flowers.

Scene 2, Act 1: The Grand Sight Palace

Witnessing Wang Xifeng punishing a servant girl, Baoyu is vexed and worried, realizing the feudal code is just like a rope that binds him tightly. He is later beaten violently by Jia Zheng because he refused to pursue the official rank. Baochai and others feel sorry for him but only Daiyu truly understands him. Wang Xifeng conspires a plan for Baoyu’s wedding which seeks to change the bride.

Scene 2, Act 2   Wedding Ceremony

Baoyu knows nothing about the plan and thinks that the girl under the red cover is Daiyu instead of Baichai. And when he moves the red cover away, he finds himself deceived. Meanwhile, Daiyu burns her poetic drafts in great despair and passes away. Baoyu is filled with so much sadness that he leaves home and becomes a monk.

The Choreographer & Director

Ming Zhao

Graduating from Chinese ethnic dance department of Beijing Dance Academy, Ming Zhao is a first-class choreographer. In 1986, he learned modern dance at the American Dance Festival sponsored by American Asian Fund. He has been honored the Third Prize of Senior Section in the 1st China National Youth Dance Competition and The Song of the Prison, which he choreographed and performed In addition, he was honored the Fourth Prize in the International Ballet Competition, Luxemburg. Men dance Walk, Run Jump has been honored the Golden Prize in the 1st Lotus Awards China National Dance Competition, meanwhile, Shining Red Star has been honored Gold Prize in 2nd Lotus Awards China National Dance Competition and Zhao Ming was honored unique best choreographer Award as well as Wen Hua Award. 2003, dance drama Farewell, My concubine choreographed by him made first debut at the opening ceremony of the 5th Shanghai International Arts Festival. Meanwhile, Farewell, My Concubine has been honored the Best Dance Drama and won the Best Choreographer Award for him in the 4th Lotus Awards China National Dance Competition. Dream of Red Chamber gave its debut for the opening ceremony of the 2004 Shanghai International Arts Festival of China. Acrobatic ballet Swan Lake is listed in 2005-2006 top ten productions of the National Fine Arts Project and toured to many countries. Acrobatic ballet Swan Lake has been honored The International Best Play of The British Manchester Unite Time .

The Music Composer

Cong Su

His compositions which have been performed at festivals and concerts by radio and orchestras also include music for opera, TV and radio music. His film, theater, ballet or pop song compositions have been used by Bernardo Bertolucci (“The Last Emperor”), Jackie Chan, Wayne Eagling, Janusz Glowacki, Hans Neuenfels, Masapiro Shinoda, Wim Wenders etc. More than thirty awards, among them the Oscar for the Best Original Music , 2nd prize of the ISCM International Composition Competition in memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of Franz Liszt and many more have been bestowed upon him. Su graduated with a master degree in composition in Beijing and Munich. From 1989 to 1991 Su gave lectures on music theory and music analysis to the opera director class of August Everding and on film music and ballet music at the Munich State Musikhochschule. Since 1991 Su has become professor of film and media music at a newly founded State Film Academy in the Stuttgart area. From 1989 to 1991 Su worked as a producer for the multimedia company “Elite Music”/”Rock Corporation”. Su has produced Chinese contemporary music and European classic music with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the German Berlin Opera. In turn Su has lived in Beijing, China, Lake Constance between Germany, Switzerland and France and in Lucca, Italy.

Leave a Reply