The Production is based on a suite originally composed to tell the classical Blue Willow legend in music. Its 12 movements present the 12 interweaving strands of the story, layering themes, sounds and musical voices to convey the many moods from joy and passion to anguish and despair, but all-enduring Love above all.
The Choregraphy is meticulously crafted to tell this wonderful story as only Ballet truly can, allowing those seeing it to experience all of the emotions unfolding within the Blue Willow legend's rises and falls, from intimate conversation to fierce combat and from rich spectacle back to purest simplicity.
1st. MOVEMENT : OPENING
The new day begins, bringing the first of many who will pass the magnificent Pagoda as they go on their way - the Elderly, slower but appreciating the new day more, children beginning to play, people on their own and others together, business owners anxious to open, unhurried Lovers with no cares at all and with eyes only for each other, the clatter of the first Rickshaws, Merchants and Traders coming and going ... all in a rising hustle and bustle.
And later, the new Guard at the Pagoda's ornate entrance gate awaiting the arrival home of the High Mandarin, Tax Collector to the Emperor, and his beloved daughter Koong-se.
2nd, MOVEMENT : FRAGILE TRUTH Part 1a -THE LOVERS
Koong-se and the Mandarin's lowly clerk Chang met secretly on the Pagoda's riverbank terrace sheltered by the Willow that alone shares their secret, to revel in their hidden Love while they have this stolen moment which is all they can expect.
But other eyes saw, followed, see still. The Mandarin's toady little manservant reports what he has seen and Chang is banished forever, the Mandarin relenting his wish for immediate execution only on the deepest of pleas from Koong-se.
3rd. MOVEMENT : SEPARATED
Separated but not separate, Chang sets a small shell-boat on the river and within it a poem for Koong-se with a bead she gave to him, to carry its message eventualy to her on the far-away Pagoda's terrace.
Longing wistfully across impossible miles Koong-se walks the terraces daily and sits for many hours under the Willow that concealed them before, conceals her now, and one joyous morning sees a small shell-boat waiting to be found, held gently by cascaded riverbank blossom.
4th. MOVEMENT : THE BETROTHAL BANQUET
The mighty Warlord to whom Koong-se has been betrothed by her father arrives at the Pagoda with great ceremony for the Betrothal Banquet. Meanwhile Chang has bravely returned risking death, and slips-in unnoticed as a guest, watching as Koong-se dutifuly circulates.
She does not see him, then does but does not see through his disguise until he gestures across at her and then her dance with another becomes a dance with only him, and his only with her ... and finally a dance together, a guest and the dazzling Betrothed, after which they flee together across the bridge over the river, pursued in vain by the Mandarin.
5th. MOVEMENT : ESCAPE
The Lovers are concealed in the home of Koong-se's handmaiden at the river's edge, but the Mandarin's Guard grows perilously close in their sesarch for Kong-se with orders that do not include the return alive of Chang ... continued concealment is impossible, discovery certain if they remain.
With the Guard's arrival at day's end pushing-in through the door the lovers climb out of a rear window looking on to the raging river, and take a small boat to disapear in to the dark, trusting their lives to fate as its spate and surges toss them where it will ... to the riverbed if it so deems.
6th. MOVEMENT : RIVER JOURNEY
Widened and now smooth, the river carries them to a far province and their new life.
7th. MOVEMENT : NEW LIFE ENBACCAROLE
Welcomed as strangers they take a modest home and over time find their true place, Chang as a respected Scholar and Koong-se as Teacher of the children. And so their every dream begins.
8th. MOVEMENT : FRAGILE TRUTH Part 2 - THE WEDDING
The Lovers' wedding ceremony, blessed and among friends, at last ... a conversation of hopes and wishes and promises.
9th. MOVEMENT : THE GUARD'S DEPARTURE
After much time, word of Koong-se and Chang reach the Mandarin's ear. Together with the Warlord a formidable Guard is assembled, imprressive to behold, moving as one, prepared for battle ... unfamiliar with failure and unaware of defeat, departing at the Mandarin's signal to bring his daughter back.
10th. MOVEMENT : IDYLL
Unknowing of what comes, the Lovers share a final day in the absolute perfection of their Love.
11th. MOVEMENT : THE FIGHT
The Mandarin's Guard arrives, encountering no resistsnce through simple perception of its might. The Mandarin calls for Koong-se to be brought to him, and when that does not happen the Warlord loudly demands the return of his betrothed.
But instead Chang comes forward, and will not step aside though no match for the Warlord in combat ... yet bravely takes up the weapon thrown down to him as he carries none. He circles awaiting an opportunity but the Warlord lands easy wounding slashes.
But Chang will still not move aside, tries to kep the Warlord from passing, though cannot defend himself adequately and finally is mortally wounded.
Running forward to deflect a final swordthrust Koong-se too takes a fatal strike, and falls across her Love joining their final breaths. The Mandarin is deeply anguished, nevermore able to reconcile with his beloved daughter, all he had ever wished.
12th. MOVEMENT : RELEASE
As friends from the Village tend to their bodies with respect, with ceremony and with great Love, the Lovers' souls rise as fabulous Lovebirds free to soar together through all the skies and all the heavens, inseparable for all of eternity.