Heart Beat opens up new possibilities for Chinese Drumming, Dance and Music
Heartbeat is the 4th and lastest “action-musical” from producer Dr. Dennis Law at the Centre in Vancouver For Performing Arts.
The story is basically a drum and dance fantasy structured loosely on
the premise that a young girl named Jade has a dream in which the god
of dragons leads her through the history of drums in China.
Again, I was amazed at the sheer spectacle of this show combining
Chinese acrobatics, dance, music and martial arts. With the
recent accessibility of Chinese artists and performers, Dr. Law is able
to bring together top Chinese talents and push them in directions never
before created. Several times my mouth dropped open at the sheer
acrobatic abilities of the dancers and what they were able to
The show is also a showcase for the many different dance styles and
drum styles throughout China's four thousand year history through the
Bronze Age, and the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Drumming styles on stage include Tibetan drums, hanging drums,
long drum dance, and eight-cornered drums. Dances include fan
dance, hair dance, Dragon dance, Monkey King and White-Boned
Goddess, and martial arts dances.
The live percussionists are a show unto themselves. Set up on each
corner are huge drums, bells and chimes. In the open orchestra
pit are 4 drummers, magnificient to watch. All these percussion
is balanced by the lyrical instruments of flute, roan (chinese guitar)
and chinese zither. Anybody remotely interested in drums should
see this show!
Everytime I have gone to see one of the action-musicals, I have
learned more about Chinese culture. I remarked to my companions
that I grew up disdaining Chinese culture, as my 5 -generational family
had been subject to racial discrimination and we wanted to
assimilate into Canadian culture. Our Canadian society, and
indeed our global culture is still very much euro-centric and ignorant
of the riches that Chinese culture and history have contributed –
witness the debate about the Chinese navigator on www.1421.com
Here are HEARTBEAT video clips for you to watch as well
Definitely go see the show….