Postcards from China


30 January 2014

Dancer Juliette Barton sends a postcard from Kunming, China, where Sydney Dance Company performed Project Rameau at the First Yunnan Kunming Yang Liping International Dance Festival in December 2013.

Today is the final day of our ten day stay in Kunming and as a special treat it is snowing! This is an event that Qing (our very generous, warm and knowledgeable guide) informed us happens very rarely (perhaps every three years) in this “City of Eternal Spring”.

Kunming has welcomed, surprised and delighted me in different ways each day. We were generously looked after by the people at the Festival, who provided meals and local snacks every evening before the show – a very welcome gesture given that the language barrier made it difficult to order food at times, especially if there were no pictures to point to.

During the shows we adapted to different audience behaviour than that to which we are accustomed. Flash photography, chatting, filming on iPads and eating are all perfectly acceptable behaviours for the theatre.

I took advantage of this when we attended a performance by the local and famous Yang Liping Company, by taking some great photos of the energetic dynamic folk spectacular.

A trip to the local bird and flower market was a highlight. Spiders, snakes, mice, turtles and bird are all available to take home as pets, but I found the trays of maggots and bugs on display the most intriguing.

Another highlight was a trip to the world heritage listed Kunming Stone Forrest, where a series of remarkable limestone sculptures stand tall to make a forest of stones. Whilst walking through we were encouraged to use our imagination to notice the many animal faces and characters in the stone formations. It was very beautiful and a special day, as our tour guide delivered information about the history with such joy and pride.

After our third show in Kunming and the Company’s final performance for 2013, we finished up with a karaoke session to unwind and end the tour on a high.

Postcard pic: Juliette Barton and Lachlan Bell at the Kunming Stone Forrest.

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