This Thursday, I enjoyed a performance by Chungliang Huang and his team at the Krannert Center.
At the beginning, when I saw the musicians came on the stage with violin and cello, I thought this was an instrumental quartet performance. Since we have already seen the video of Huang’s performance in class, I was confused about how a quartet performance related to Tai Ji. Then, Huang appears on the stage, in the middle of four sitting musicians, playing Tai Ji with the rhythm of the music. This definitely changed my former stereotype of either quartet or Tai Ji.
When I was in high school, I took Tai Ji electives as well as saw elders played Tai Ji in the parks every morning. Tai ji seems like a way of doing exercising for my grandparents, therefore, I never expected to see someone play Tai Ji using music and improvising the motifs. I enjoyed the mixture of western classic musics and eastern traditional TaiJi most. Huang’s movements are free and flexible, filled with raw emotions and feelings.
The most interesting part was at the end of the performance, Huang jumped to the stage and danced with all other performers to acknowledge to the audience’s applause. They were so joyful and energetic that I even wanted dance with them.
If I were the director, I would probably give some handouts to the audience to add some background of both the music they played and Huang’s Tai ji philosophy, which could definitely deepen audience’s understanding of performance.