Chinese art and culture has had thousands of years to develop, but ballet is the youngest of the ''100 flowers'' in Chinese art. On the Move
captures dance history in-the-making as the Central Ballet of China makes its American premiere. As these spirited dancers travel to New York City, their magical performances re-define dance as an international language and a bridge between cultures. At the same time, the corps delights in its first experience with contemporary western dance.
For the superb Central Ballet of China dancers, their American debut means not only an opportunity to perform, but also the chance to create an intercultural exchange with other dancers. On The Move documents their journey as they introduce Chinese ballet to American audiences and, in turn, experience for the first time the rich diversity of American dance - jazz, modern, African and even break dancing. The dancers approach the strange new dance forms with the discipline of professionals and the curiosity of children. In this beautiful film, their tour becomes an overview of contemporary American dance as they visit and rehearse in the studios of Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and George Ballanchine and learn the straw hat and cane choreography of Broadway s Graciela Daniele.
The fascinating history of Chinese dance unfolds through interviews with dance instructors, teachers and the dancers themselves. Traditional Chinese folk dance tells stories, reflecting the history of the country s one billion people. This folk tradition, the formal styles of Russian, French and American ballet and the Cultural Revolution are all sighted influences in today s Chinese ballet. The pioneer of Chinese dance, Madame Dai Ai Lian, reveals the reaction which ballet received when she first introduced it in China: ''People laughed at arabesque.'' Today the Central Ballet is revered as a cultural treasure. And unlike American ballet companies where stars and rivalries are the norm, the Central Ballet is a close-knit extended family. At a very young age children leave their families and travel to Beijing to study dance. From that time on the dancers will live, train and perform together, building the spirit and dedication which crosses all international boundaries.
On the Move is a remarkable film offering a fresh view of Chinese dance and culture. A classic addition to classes in dance, dance history, cultural history and Chinese studies, it is also perfect for general audiences of all ages.
As a showcase for the young Chinese company, the documentary is charming. --John O'Connor, New York Times
A thoroughly engaging record of the young Chinese ballet's first trip to the West. --Boston Globe
Watching ''On the Move'' is like taking a cram course in the art of dance. --Sasha Anawalt, Los Angeles Times