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Xmnt Vancouver Sun preview 2019

Video game imagery and an ancient Chinese text take dancers into a magical world

Gamers “click” IRL through VR role-playing in multimedia staging of 3,000 year old Chinese classic

Shawn Conner for Vancouver Sun, July 16, 2019

Orchid Ensemble: Crossing Mountains and Seas

When: July 20

Where: Vancouver Playhouse

Tickets: $25 general seating at

As co-founder of Orchid Ensemble, musician/composer Lan Tung has worked not only with musicians but also dancers and visual artists. With Crossing Mountains and Seas, she’s taking on her most ambitious project yet — modernizing an ancient Chinese through video-game imagery, contemporary and aerial dance, and interactive multimedia projections.

“I’ve learned a lot from all the different disciplines, especially the requirements of aerial dance,” Tung said. “Just discussing the transitions between dance, video, and music took a day-and-a-half of discussions.”

Created by Tung with choreographers Julia Taffe (of Aeriosa Dance) and Chengxin Wei (ground) and video artist Sammy Chien, Crossing Mountains and Seas is based on Shan Hai Jing or the Classic of Mountains & Seas. The 2000-plus-year-old tome is filled with stories and drawings about a world where mythical creatures, hybrids of humans and animals, live in over 100 kingdoms. According to the Orchid Ensemble website, “how the various creatures in Shan Hai Jing have lived in harmony with each other is a metaphor of an ideal multicultural society that we are seeking today.”