September 15, 2010

High-Flying Shaolin Monks at Sydney Opera House

Starting tomorrow, 17 Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple in China will put their martial arts skills on display at the Sydney Opera House, when they star in the acclaimed contemporary movement piece Sutra.

Bryce Hallett at the Sydney Morning Herald has the story:

Directed, choreographed and performed by the Moroccan-Belgian dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, the East-meets-West collaboration fuses contemporary European dance, the martial arts feats of 17 Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple in China, an ingenious set of wooden boxes by the British sculptor Antony Gormley and an original score by the Polish composer Szymon Brzoska.

Cherkaoui says creating Sutra was a rewarding but daunting experience, not least because it meant earning the trust and involvement of the young warrior monks, who are aged between 20 and 22. "They follow a strict Buddhist doctrine and the challenge was to gain their acceptance, then inspire them to expand their perspective about the role of martial arts," says Cherkaoui, who began his career as a hip-hop dancer. "Kung fu and tai chi are integral to their faith and it was important to observe their culture from within."

Read the full article here.

Sutra is going to be showing from tomorrow through September 19.

Photo: Hugo Glendinning

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