The 2020 Bessie nominations have been announced and include Hu Shenyuan for Outstanding Performance in Yang Liping’s Under Siege at David H. Koch Theatre.
Hu worked closely with Aakash Odedra over three years to create the company’s most recent work, Samsara. Presented by Aakash Odedra Company and Bagri Foundation, Samsara is a duet between Aakash and Hu with live music composed by Nicki Wells. The world premiere took place in Melbourne at the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts, Asia TOPA in March and will be touring to China, France and Germany in 2021.
Samsara is inspired by the many monks believed to have attempted the long pilgrimage that eventually led to the classic 16th Century Chinese story Journey to The West. Their journey was both literal and metaphorical, physical and spiritual. With universal themes of self-development, strength, fear and love, Samsara explores the journey individuals take to become themselves. With obstacles to overcome and demons to face, we leave behind many versions of ourselves and learn to love these versions while finding love for others.
Drawing on contemporary dance, Chinese folk dance and the classical Indian dance form Kathak, Samsara is an expression of cultural exchange where epic, mythological storytelling merges with personal experience from two globally opposite perspectives. Samsara traces a path across lands and through time, and explores the idea that if we let attachments go, and allow love or light in, we may find a place of truth and peace.
Film/image: Nirvair Singh