Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Ombres Chinoises

"Ombres Chinoises" is a french word for Chinese shadows. Shadow play is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment using figures in front of an illuminated backdrop to create the illusion of moving images. It is said that this art form originated in China during the Han dynasty when one of Emperor Wu's wives died. The emperor was devastated and ordered his court to bring his wife back to life. Constructed of joined pieces of donkey leather and painted clothes, the wife was animated using an oil lamp by making her shadow move. The French are known for spreading the Chinese shadows through Europe when French missionaries in China took it back and put on performances in the mid-1800s.

Pilobolus started at Dartmouth College at the early 70s as a Dance group and went to become a major American dance company. The video is of a live performance by Pilobolus displaying the "Ombres Chinoises".

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