For the Labor day, we got invited to perform in the city of Jinghong, Xishuangbanna, 850 km south of Dali.
As this event requested us to provide workshops, walking performance and a one hour stage show, we built up a team to accompany us on this journey.
Apart of Sam and me, joined Teppei a Japanese juggler and world traveler, Dalong, a Chinese juggler and object manipulator from Kunming, Arthur a French painter and VJ living in Dali, Ryo a Japanese DJ and dijeridoo player also living in Dali.
Also came along friends taking part in the creative market : Jina Korea, Limay Singapore, Jay & He Korean and Chinese, Guozi, BaiCai & Xiao “J” also Chinese. And for the first time we invited a photographer, “17” to come along with us.
We left Dali April 29th for a 14 hours drive, 7 people in the car full of our equipments, driving through the mountainous highways of Yunnan. The others flew over the coming days.
The next day we discovered the place where we would spend the coming week. It’s a new area of the city developed for tourism and realty. It’s built in traditional Dai (Ethnic minority of South China similar to Thai) style, mixing modernity of LED, concrete, wood and old tiles roofs.
The performance venue is a huge square located between the majestic Mekong river and a gigantic bright new Thai style temple, undoubtedly bigger than Ayutthaya !
This time, the organisers provided us the stage, structures, sound system and light equipments, allowing us to purely focus on stage decoration and performances. From the very first evening, everybody took part in beautifying what will be our stage scenography.
This event was quite challenging to us, because many of the performances and costumes are newly built and we were not quite used to them.
We opened the program with workshops of pyramid paintings, Poi and contact ball workshops. Pyramid workshop is about drawing what you want, Let your imagination flow on a white fabric covering a wood pyramid structure, we had many times this workshop in different places. we would so much appreciate if people who participates could return back the material the way we passed to them.
Workshop finished, it was the time to get ready for the stilts walking performance “angel and demon”. Walking in the audience and interacting with people is a very exciting experience, yet stilt walking is not as easy as it might sound or look, within the 30 minutes walk a few times I lost balance but didn’t fall.
Once the walk finished, it’s time to get the stage show ready.
This time we wanted to do new performances, not limited to fire juggling and our shadow theater.
So we came out with using ideas using full body costumes of different colors. Gold and silver costume with a giant mobile and a little bit of Acroyoga, making people think of the way they behave with there smartphone. It’s a topic important to us because as performers we often face more cameras than pairs of eyes, people try to capture everything with there phone forgetting to purely enjoy with their eyes.
We also had a collaborative performance with live painting, projecting and dancing with colored lycra costumes, experimenting aesthetic in a purely improvising spirit.
Finally as a novelty we chose to integrate the DJ and VJ in the stage to make them part of the performance and give them banners suggesting to people to clap and stop clapping.
When the show finished, everybody was still energetic and we kept on the music, and jamming fire and juggling for few hours, purely enjoying all being together and the beauty of the place.
Our stage was named Creative Stage. Organisers built 2 more Traditional Culture stages and invited many performance troops from Yunnan and Thailand, performing modern music, painting and traditional dancing, also living statues, clowns, hip hop dancers and Colspay fans around the audience.
As the days went and everybody got more familiar with the program, we involved more people in the walking around. We were not 4 but 7 people maximum walking together entertaining the audience.
During the break time we proposed to “Tuku”, a Thai group to perform on our stage.
Being able to propose experimental performances with no boundaries, choosing our own music, costumes, videos, atmosphere is a real chance. We are free to explore, form tribal to psychedelic sounds, free to perform a show that in some way criticism the society as it is. Yet even if they don’t always understand, the audience is still very curious and enthusiastic about our performances. We were so glad to be invited and really appreciated their support.
This time we made a nice promo video of the show. Enjoy !