Beijing Dance Academy on tour

Beijing Dance Academy Beijing Dance Academy

The Butterfly Lovers
Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
On Tour to San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland & Seattle
February, 2010

In  August of 1978, I was lucky to be one of the first when China began to cautiously open its doors to Western tourists.  In the streets everyone dressed uniformly:  white short sleeved shirt for men and women, dark blue trousers for men, and dark blue shirts for women.  Needless to say, a bright green tee-shirt dress, blond hair, and blue eyes stuck out.  Outside factories and public places there were thousands of identical black bicycles.  I still wonder how you found your own at the end of the day.

Visually the Beijing Opera and other performances were a different story.  Bright, saturated color was used in gaudy, silken abundance.  The performances themselves, with the exception of the acrobats, tended to be somewhat tiresome for Western audiences.  The stories, music, and movement were routed in ancient Chinese traditions, that is, unless they celebrated the Great Leap Forward.  The acrobats, who were astonishing to anyone’s eye traveled to the West, however, for the most part, the rest of the performance repertoire stayed pretty much in China. 

 Karen Weinstein

Mr. Simpson has a BA in Journalism from the University of Southern California and worked as an advertising writer in Los Angeles before moving to New York to pursue a different passion: dance. He danced professionally in New York and Boston before founding a community-based modern dance company, Small City Dance Project, in Newburyport, MA. His fiction has appeared in literary journals and anthologies. He was a teaching fellow at Smith College, where he received his MFA in choreography. While living in the Bay Area for 15 years, he wrote about dance for the San Francisco Chronicle and other periodicals. In 2005, he was a NEA Fellow at the Dance Critics Institute, American Dance Festival. For, he reviews dance, theatre and film. He moved to Santa Fe in October, 2008. He writes for "Pasatiempo," the Arts magazine of the "Santa Fe New Mexican."