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Silk Road - Peacock Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOR THE first time since its appearance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Silk Road by Gansu Dance, Drama and Opera Ensemble, comes to London – to the Peacock Theatre, where it plays on January 11 and 12, 2014.

Staged by one of China’s most influential performance companies, this modern version of China’s most eminent piece of historical dance-theatre comes to the capital following 34 years of performances across the world.

Already performed in 30 countries and 400 cities to audiences of more than four million, most recently at New York’s Lincoln Center, this vibrant performance depicts a story of peace and friendship between Chinese merchants and foreign traders.

Inspired by the landscape of North Western China’s Silk Road and the early Dunhuang Frescoes, and performed by a 47 strong ensemble, this exotic tale merges Chinese classical and modern foreign dance, ancient folk songs and dazzling costumes.

Set in the Sanwei Mountain, a place blessed with thousands of Buddhas and lit by holy lights, the performance follows a painter’s daughter who is kidnapped after they help save the life of a Persian businessman on the Silk Road.

The cast includes Li Li, Chen Chen (Ying Niang), An Ning (Painter Shenbi Zhang), Suo Jingxing (Yi Nusi), Song Yulong (Dou Hu), Wang Jianfei (Official), Wang Jun (Official) and Han Bin (HeXi Jiedushi).

Silk Road was first performed in 1979 and was adapted into a film in 1982, the same year that they became the first Asian arts troupe to perform at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Gansu Dance Drama and Opera Ensemble (Gansu DDOE) was founded in 1961 by the Culture Department of China’s Gansu province. The main role of Gansu Dance Drama and Opera Ensemble is to research, create and perform Dunhuang music and dance, which bloomed along the Silk Road in ancient China during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

In recent years, Gansu DDOE has created and performed many acclaimed works, including music for the Konghou (an ancient Chinese harp), Apsaras, Music and Dance of Xiliang, Tang Dynasty Rhyme, the Thousand Hand Guanyin Dance.

Silk Road is suitable for ages 5+.

Tickets: £38 – £15. To book, call the box office on 0844 412 4300 or visit

Times: January 11 at 7.30pm, January 12 at 1.30pm and 7.30pm.

Running Time: 90 minutes (includes one interval).

The Snowman continues at the Peacock Theatre until January 5, 2014.