performance & dance
performance & theatre

Wen Hui’s RED

Part of China Changing Festival

Using a ballet from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Red Detachment of Women, as her starting point, the choreographer Wen Hui confronts different points of view and testimonies, building up a critical panorama of the tumultuous period in this mixed-media performance.

The stage becomes a complex territory of the memory in which Chinese history and its trouble zones are tackled live.

The piece acts as a live documentary, with the physical bodies on stage telling the story through dance and movement, accompanying videos and archival footage.

Featuring people who were directly involved or affected by the original piece, this dissection of a 20th century ballet becomes a living and lived archive.

The Red Detachment of Women was one of only eight ‘model theatre’ performances permissible in China during the 1960s and 1970s.

With its pistol-touting, sword-wielding, pointe shoe-wearing dancers, it came to embody part of Mao’s communist dream.

Hui unpicks how this ideologically driven artwork unexpectedly portrayed the possibility of female emancipation.

Wen Hui is the founder of Living Dance Studio, the first independent contemporary dance company in China. She and her team employ film and text alongside choreographed movement to tackle sensitive social issues affecting people living in China today.

This, Wen Hui’s first visit to the UK for ten years, forms part of Dance Umbrella 2018.

Dance Umbrella is London’s leading international dance festival, this year celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Its mission is to bring outstanding dance to London, presenting hundreds of contemporary artists from every continent to audiences across the capital.


Wen Hui choreographer

Dates & times

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Purcell Room


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


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need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 12+

Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Thursday 4 October: Post-show discussion. Free