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Journey to the West

In August 1998 I, Victor Smith, danced in Journey to the West which was produced by the Hong Kong Dance Company and was performed at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was the grand finale to the International Arts Carnival 1998 which is an annual Summer arts festival organised by the Provisional Urban Council.

Journey to the West will be produced again in 1999 and I have been asked to dance in it again this year.  Details of locations and dates will be posted here later.

Here are a few photographs taken before and after performances.  (We were not permitted to take photographs during the actual performances.)

jtw1.jpg (40164 bytes)Here I am with Lina having my makeup applied before the Saturday evening performance.

Lina, Lin Chao-jung, was born in Taiwan and studied dance in Shanghai.  She joined the Hong Kong Dance Company in 1997.

As Assistant to the Choreographer for this production, she had to do a huge amount of work with many of the very young "stars".

jtw21.jpg (31347 bytes)And here we are again preparing for the final performance.








jtw11.jpg (37000 bytes)Here I am with the Monkey King.  We are both ready for the Saturday performance.  On the right we try out a different pose.jtw12.jpg (21165 bytes)

Wu Kam-ming who danced as the Monkey King, graduated from HKAPA in 1991 and has performed in several foreign countries.  He joined the Hong Kong Dance Company in 1993.

jtw18.jpg (15055 bytes)


Here I am in my tortoise costume with one of the other guys, Suen Siu-hin, in his faun costume.





jtw25.jpg (32651 bytes)Here I am on the stage immediately after the final performance with the Monkey King.







jtw26.jpg (24889 bytes)And here I am with Jiang Huaxuan, the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Journey to the West straight after the final performance.  I am still in my tortoise costume but have removed my shell. 

Jiang Huaxuan graduated from Beijing Dance Institute in 1963 and taught at the same institute until 1972.Over more than three decades he has won many prestigious awards in national competitions in China.


Scene by Scene Synopsis:

Prologue: Monk Tripitaka and his disciples are on a journey to the West to get back the Buddhist scriptures.  They pass by a very hot place called the Fiery Mountain.  The people there are fleeing the land because they cannot stand the heat.  The Land God advises them that only Princess Iron Fan's magic plantain fan can put out the flames of the Fiery Mountain and cool the place.  Otherwise they will all get roasted, and Zhu Bajie the Pig will become tasty roasted pork.

Act I Scene 1: Inside Plantain Cave, there are exotic flowers and animals, and there is singing and dancing all around.  Red Boy, the son of Princess Iron Fan, was badly beaten by Sun Wukong the Monkey King because he wanted to eat the Monk's legendary tasty flesh.  Princess Iron Fan vows to avenge him.  When Sun Wukong comes to borrow the magic fan, he is blown to tens of thousands of kilometres away by the Princess's fan.

Act I Scene 2: With the help of the magic pill that helps him stand against the gusts of wind from the fan, and under the advice of the Bodhisatva, Sun Wukong transforms into a tiny insect and finds his way into the Princess's stomach and wreaks havoc there.  The Princess cannot but lend him her magic fan.  Here's a lesson to the boys and girls: not to eat dirty food!

Act I Scene 3: One Two Three, Three Two One, the Monkey King is number one!  But he cannot put out the fire!  Is the fan a fake?

Act II Scene 1: At Azure Wave Pool, the Bull Monster King is drinking and dancing with Princess Azure Waves.  Nobody notices that the Monkey King has sneaked in.

Act II Scene 2: The Monkey turns himself into the Bull, and gets the magic fan he wants - but only for a while.  It is soon back into the hands of the Bull!  The two try to beat each other with their magic powers and finally, the Bull is defeated.  Princess Iron Fan has to give the Monkey the magic fan and begs for mercy.

Act II Scene 3: The Monkey puts out the fire at Fiery Mountains with the magic fan.  The Monk and his disciples continue their journey to the West.

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