2016 The 5 Elements


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Interview of the choreographers: 5 Elements and its Choreographers

Ticket Office: NextSteps series, Harbourfront Centre, Studio Theatre

Our contemporary full-length show, part of Harbourfront’s NextSteps 16-17 season, will be presented in Studio Theatre from Nov 24-26.

This time, five prolific dancers will switch their roles and choreograph individual pieces based on the elements (五行)of Chinese Taoism philosophy. These five elements are metal, wood, water, fire and earth. These five elements not only form the basis of Chinese metaphysics and philosophy, but also have practical applications in Feng Shui the art of landscape and home decoration, astrology, and Chinese medicine.

These five elements were a conclusion of ancient Chinese philosophers’ observation of the nature’s way of complimentary cycle of life. In one particular order, the elements give birth to one another, i.e., water gives birth to wood, wood gives birth to fire, fire gives birth to earth, earth gives birth to metal, and metal gives birth to water to complete the cycle. In a different order, the elements suppress one another. i.e., water suppresses fire, fire suppresses wood, wood suppresses earth, and earth suppresses water to complete the cycle. The characteristics of these elements and the connections between them have given Chinese philosophers inspiration on how everything co-exists in nature, how everything can be explained using the cycle of birth and death, and how everything can be arranged according to the relationship of supplement and suppression. The teaching of the five elements is still widely practiced in today’s Chinese society.

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