zuhe niao performances

tongue’s memory of home

Tongue's Memory of Home was inspired by excerpts of works by Shanghai poets Wang Yin, Lu Yimin and Zhang Zhen, popular in the 1980s but now forgotten. The verses, projected onto a screen as part of the performance, were never allowed to be published. In societies, where poetry is considered dangerous, each person's tongue becomes a tool for one collective voice, to make people bit by bit forget what gives them their own individuality.

But a tongue, once stripped of language, has other ways of remembering − tasting, touching, feeling. Stripped of language, it is no longer a mouthpiece for ideology and is in fact more free than human beings themselves. By drawing on other senses the tongue can inspire the body to dream of other worlds, between dream and reality, and give us another memory of home...

  • Zhang Xian: director
  • Xiao Ke, nunu, Nannan, Li Zhen: choreography, dance
  • Zhang Xue Zhou: video, performer
  • Wang Yin, Lu Yi Min, Nannan, Xiao Ke: text
  • Yin Yi: composer & sound design
  • Ma Yue: lighting design
  • Wang Jing Guo: stage design
  • He Yan: costumes
  • Fang Lei, Coca: photography

the left cheek

In this new production Zuhe Niao makes use of contemporary western dance, live music, Chinese martial arts and other elements of ancient Chinese culture like calligraphy to create a dark, ritualistic fable about life in a collective society.

The title − The Left Cheek − refers to the left−wing revolutionary ardour created in China during the Cultural Revolution. The glorification of everything “left” gained extreme proportions: from alternative traffic rules to using strictly your left hand only to take an oath or salute someone. It goes without saying that to slap somebody on their left cheek was a severe offence. Many societies have their “left cheek”: a sensitive issue that can mobilize many people and is often used by politicians to hide the real problems in society. On stage we see the Left Cheek evolving from intimate daily life to international issues.

  • Zhang Xian: director, stage, costumes
  • Xiao Ke: choreography, dance
  • Nannan: choreography, dance
  • Jin Xiao Yan: martial arts, dance
  • Li Zhen: calligraphy, performer
  • Zhang Xue Zhou: video, performer
  • Yin Yi: music & sound, performer
  • Ma Yue: lighting design
The Left Cheek The Left Cheek Tongue's Memory Tongue's Memory