Global Times | July 05, 2011       By Song Yuanyuan

Xiao Xue and Luo Haitao dance their passion. Photo: Courtesy of SMX Studio

Contemporary dance piece Behind 3.0 was performed Thursday in the SARS mini theater inside Chaoyang district’s Nine Theater. Directed and produced by a group of dancers born after the mid 80s, they present a tangled tale of “queer love” using only movement with few spoken words or music.

The story is of a relationship between two males and one female – a modern love triangle. It is a quite powerful performance that also manages to be deliberately ambiguous with its body language.

The dance gives us a snapshot of all the different types of relationships we may find in a modern city – a dating couple, a husband and wife, homosexual, bisexual, straight, a mesh of different scenarios, with the gay love theme as the highlight. The three main characters are Xiao Xue (female), Luo Haitao (male), and Jiang Cheng (male). Xue and Luo are the original couple in love, but Luo later has an affair with Jiang, and it develops into a very complicated emotional conflict.

This play is the latest production by SMX Studio, adapted from Mei Feng’s play called Legend (Chuanqi). A subsequent movie version called Spring Fever (Chun Re) won a best screenplay award for Mei at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in 2009. This dance piece is based on the play, which condenses the events of a three-year relationship into a 90-minute dance. Compared with the previous two versions, this latest softens the damage the three protagonists do to each other by the end, instead, it leaves an open ending – a choice.

Sexual behavior between the couples are strongly presented with body movement, yet direct body contact is seldom used to avoid being superficially vulgar. The emotional changes between them are subtlely interpreted in their dance. Without music, the audience’s attention is purely focused on their body movements and expressions, but some movements are very hard or ambiguous to understand.

Pan Weixin, the choreograher (who also dances Jiang) from Hong Kong said it is a challenge to present a drama in the form of dance instead of words that can be directly understood. “How to extract the body movements, and make the abstract dance send out the message to audience is the key. We have to find a bridge connecting our audience and the play to help them find a similar reflection in life.”

The play is a further exploration of people’s lust and its morality. “It’s a pity that homosexual people have to live in a marginalized society, but they still have to accept the way that they have to normalize their life within the societal norms,” said the young director Xie Shu of the drama. “As the theater name Behind indicates, they are involved in the events themselves, but they themselves cannot really see it,” he explained. “I thought it was a love story at first, but when I finished it, I found when humans make a choice based upon desire, it is only damage left besides possessing.