ORGANIZTIONAL MANDATE/ MISSION
The Little Pear Garden Dance Company [LPGDC] (formerly Little Pear Garden Collective) develops and promotes Chinese dance and opera in Canada via the production and presentation of performances, lectures, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions on the local and national levels by creating an environment that supports Canadian artists practicing both Chinese traditional and contemporary artistic expressions. We aspire to develop a distinct voice in the opera and dance ecologies and to be the premiere Chinese performing arts company in Canada that features professional artists, innovative programming, stimulating workshops, and creative new works that reflect passion, honesty, integrity and excellence.
Under the leadership of current Artistic Director Miss Emily Cheung, LPGC’s vision is in building Chinese contemporary dance vocabularies through innovations and creative works that are meaningful to the Chinese / Canadian Diaspora. Miss Cheung also seeks to collaborate with artists from various disciplines and culturally diverse backgrounds to create work that uniquely combines the different aesthetics and contemporary sensibilities. The main focus of LPGC is to create repertoires that utilize a unique contemporary dance vocabularies based on both traditional and classical Chinese dance/opera aesthetics. In order to achieve this, all of LPGC dancers are required to conduct training in traditional and classical Chinese dance and operatic movements to preserve the authenticity of the Chinese elements in the new dance vocabularies.
Chinese opera is the most traditional, rooted and authentic art form in Chinese cultural heritage. LPGC creates contemporary works based on Chinese sensibility by using its traditional aesthetics. Drawn from Chinese operatic and dance stylized movements, vocabularies, very distinctive artistic taste, LPGC sees the importance of preserving this aesthetic while further pushing boundaries by creating new works that represent Chinese contemporary opera and dance in Canada. Chinese opera is very different from Western opera. In western opera, there is more concentration on acting and singing while Chinese opera includes elements of martial arts, dance, painting, mime, singing and acting. Chinese classical dance also derives from Chinese opera in the 1980’s when many choreographers took elements from Chinese opera and reinvented classical dance styles.
The company’s name is derived from Peking opera’s tradition of nomenclature. During the Tang dynasty in China, approximately 712 – 755 AD, Emperor Hsuan Tsung founded the Pear Garden Academy inside his royal court, thereby establishing ChinaÂ’s first professional music and dance performance troupe.
This important institution is considered to be the origin of Chinese opera. Subsequently, Chinese opera has been referred to as the “pear garden profession”, and opera performers may be referred to as the “children of the pear garden.” Thus, when William Lau founded the collective to promote Canadian appreciation of Chinese performing arts, he named it the Little Pear Garden Collective. In 2015, the board decided to recognize the fact that the collective had been transformed from a Peking opera presenter to a dance focused theatre under the leadership of Ms. Emily Cheung, and officially changed the collective name to a dance company.