The commissioned full-length ballet Mulan is produced by the creative team,Eight Female Fighters, a ballet drama by Liaoning Ballet of China granted the Splendor Award of Wenhua Award and the “Five-One” Project Award.
HUA Mulan is a legendary Chinese heroine. Her name originally appeared in the The Ballad of Mulan, a folk song of the Northern Dynasties composed over 1000 years ago. She joined the army in her father’s stead and killed enemies to defend her country, performing famed military exploits, but she excused herself from an official title and returned to her hometown, where she relived the pastoral life yearned by many common Chinese people. Mulan serves as a model for “filial piety and loyalty” in traditional Chinese ethics, and has an aesthetic image as a valiant but gentle female warrior.
In this all-star ballet by Liaoning Ballet of China, Mulan’s filial piety and loyalty, as well as feelings for the home and country, is interpreted from a contemporary perspective. The ballet drama is created based literaly on Song of Mulan, an ancient writing, but Mulan is portrayed vividly as an affectionate heroine of flesh and blood, an image that does not exist in the original work, especially when Mulan lives on the battlefield for over 10 years.
Dark clouds are falling on the border area in the vast Gobi Desert. A valiant and vigorous general in amour is looking northeastwards with a long drawn bow in both hands. The general looks back into the distance, with eyes filled with female tenderness...
The cowboy plays the flute, the loom chirps, and people in the landscape countryside, of whom men plough and the women weave, wake up at sunrise and call it a day at the sunset. HUA Mulan, who is clever and beautiful, weaves with her white hands in the face of the door and enjoys a happy, quiet life with her family.
War alarms have arisen at all border posts. A galloper arrives with a military message with feathers that the Khan orders recruitment of soldiers from every household where there is an able-bodied man. Looking at the message, as well as her aged father, little brother and anxious mother, Mulan dresses up as a man with her hair done in a bun, and mounts a gallant horse with a long bow on her back to join the army in her father’s stead, starting a long journey to the border area.
In the battalions, where there are men everywhere, valiant, handsome general LI Shuo trains new recruits to do weapons practice and go through hardships at the drill grounds. During the daytime, Mulan, who has a slight figure and weak strength, cannot keep pace with tough training and feels frustrated. At night, she feels lonely in the tent filled with men’s breath, tossing about in her bed and cannot fall asleep. Looking at the moonlight, she cannot help missing her family members and hometown.
She wipes away the tears on her face and hides away her tender feelings to make herself no longer a girl. She doesn’t retreat anymore, but keeps her dander up. With a strong will, she practices fighting skills with the long bow in her hands, and grows into an excellent archer under General LI’s guidance.
In the glint and flash of cold steel and the neigh of army horses, the enemy commander launches a surprise attack with his men. With the sounds of the gold drum and battle trumpet, General LI ambushes the enemy troops. The general rushes forward in front of others and the soldiers take courage to fight against the enemy. But LI Shuo gets besieged by the enemy. To shoot at an enemy soldier, it is necessary to shoot at his horse first; to capture all the enemy soldiers, it is necessary to capture the ringleader first. At the crucial moment, resourceful and brave Mulan shoots the enemy commander, who falls from his horse and the enemy soldiers are thrown into confusion, fleeing helter-skelter…
The horn sound of victory echoes in the mountains, and HUA Mulan had sprung into fame in the border area.
“There remain the bright moon of Qin and the border of Han, and the expeditionary forces still don’t return from the journey of thousands of miles. If the mighty general LI Guang were still alive, he would have blocked the enemy from tramping over the Yinshan Mountains.”Despite fierce fighting and loneliness on the border, Mulan finally grows from a soldier into a general shining with exploits. Years later, the cold north wind comes again, and the chilly moonlight falls on the soldiers’ armors. Mulan and LI Shuo guard the border in the Gobi Desert with soldiers. Wild geese fly southward and make Mulan feel homesick. The geese’s tweets confirm the two generals’ brotherliness and arouse their feelings for the border.
Before daybreak, Mulan goes on patrol and is shot with an arrow from hiding.Her femininity is exposed in the healing process, stunning LI Shuo, who stares at Mulan and wants to utter thousand words, but he doesn’t know where to begin… There comes the trumpet of a decisive battle, and LI Shuo must go out to battle. Watching LI Shuo go away, Mulan feels sadder and lonelier.
Fluttering banners hide the sun, men cry and horses neigh, and the two armies throw up defenses for a fierce battle. General LI and his men fight hard against the enemy. Like a lightning streaking across the sky, valiant general HUA bursts into the enemy position on her horse with the long bow in her hand. She plunges forward on this side, dashes in on that, killing the enemy bravely with her battle companions. In the pitched battle, the enemy commander shoots an arrow at Mulan, and at the crucial moment of life and death, LI Shuo blocks the arrow with his body. He pulls out the arrow, gritting his teeth, and hands it over to Mulan, who shoots the enemy commander with her bloody arrow... They win the decisive battle, and on the bloodstained battlefield, Mulan holds LI Shuo tight in her arms, feeling grieved.
Of the generals, officers and soldiers, some die in battle and others return home ten years later. The victors are rewarded by the emperor, and Mulan, who has gone through tests of life and death in the battlefield, misses her family members very much and yearns for a peaceful, quiet pastoral life, so she excuses herself from an official title and returns home.
Mulan gets together with her family members before their thatched cottage. Beside the loom, she takes off the armor and puts on her dress. The loom chirps under the full-blown mangnolia, and the sound drifts off with her thoughts and feelings...