By MARY TAN
AAP staff writer
Jin Xing means “golden star” in Chinese and is quite fitting for the name of China’s most celebrated dancer. Jin Xing and her dance company will perform at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Minneapolis this weekend. She and her artists are ready to showcase “a blend of east and west cultures in dance, costumes and music,” according to promoters.
The performance will feature the group’s well known, Shanghai Tango. While not a traditional tango, it’s a program of ten works that is described as a “reflection a modern Shanghai and exhibits passions and cultures from both the past and the future.”
Jin Xing is known in her country as a ballerina and owner of China’s only independent dance company. Reviewers say her choreography is graceful, subtle and filled with visual appeal.
Ben Johnson, Director of Northrup Concerts and Lectures, believes Jin Xing’s background makes her performances all the more memorable. “To many, she’s a hero who has overcome extraordinary circumstances to become one of the most popular and well known artists in China, Johnson said recently.
Jin Xing was not always a she. The dancer told the Wall Street Journal in an article last year,” since the age of six, I never felt comfortable as a boy.” That’s why after years of identity issues, the dancer decided to have several sex change surgeries in 1999. Soon after, she started her dance company.
The artist is one of the most popular and well-known dancers in China. “She is dedicated to showcasing the contemporary face of China and the Asian world,” said Johnson. He also thinks that country’s issues play into the inspiration for her work.
The University of Minnesota wanted to host the performance for several reasons. The largest number of international students is from China and there is a large Chinese community in the Twin Cities. Northrup’s Director says bringing the group to Minnesota just made sense. “Jin Xing is known for being a major voice for human rights, artistic freedom of expression and democracy. She does this through art and we felt this would be a great example for our students and our community.”
The presentation is part of a three year exchange with arts leaders from across the country showcasing Chinese culture. It’s also part of a major multi-year cultural exchange with Arts Midwest, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the U.S. Major University Presenters consortium.
Tickets run from $25 to $50 and are available through ticketmaster.com or you can buy them by phone at 1-800-745-3000. You can also purchase them in person and save on fees at the State Theater Box Office at 805 Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis.