1699 Peach Blossom Fan 1699 Peach Blossom Fan

Macau Arts Festival 2016: a guide

The Macau Arts Festival promises a strong follow-up from last year's stellar edition

This month, you can feast your senses on dance, music, theatre performances exhibitions and more at the annual Macau Arts Festival, which has been enthusiastically received for over a quarter of a century. Taking place in some of the city’s most well-known landmarks, from UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Dom Pedro V Theatre and St. Dominic’s Church, to state-of- the-art venues like Macao Cultural Centre, Macao Tower Auditorium and Sands Theatre, MAF is one of the best ways to experience this fascinating city. Apparently, the Las Vegas of the East offers much more than just entertainment and pop concerts.

20150309123228 lied-ballet-04Lied Ballet

Last year, French choreographer Thomas Lebrun’s Lied Ballet enthralled the audience with his unique combination of the classic dance form. Three acts featuring eight dancers, a tenor and pianist travelled back in time with historical imagery and symbolism. A new take on ballet steps and classical music by composers Giacinto Scelsi, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg and Alban Berg reflected Lebrun’s contemplation on social issues in cultural settings.

Related: 10 things you need to know about Macau

20150309123224 aerodynamicsAerodynamics

Another dance performance challenging conventionality was Aerodynamics, directed and choreographed by Taiwanese super-dancer Wen-Chung Lin of international renown. His study of movement through air and time sent dancers on a mission against gravity. Every fibre of the body was challenged like never before, as the mind experienced unprecedented freedom. Dance once again proved its ability to amaze without speaking a single word.

Related: A day of food in Macau

20150309123237 trust-01Trust, Anouk van Dijk

But speak we must, and according to German playwright and director Falk Richter, we must question the world we live in. His collaboration with dancer and choreographer Anouk van Dijk produced ‘Trust,’ or rather, the loss of it, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Dialogue and dance reinterpreted the political, economical, and above all, the emotional upheaval in a performance that hit close to home.

Related: The best walks in Macau

20150309123235 phaedra-01Phaedra, Tang Shu Wing

Tang Shu Wing’s ‘Phaedra 2.0-Desires and Lies’ stripped the classical theatre piece Phaedra right down to its bare essentials. Former dean of drama of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing arts, and now award-winning director, Tang unleashed the power of deception with his mastery of minimalistic theatre, forcing us to face an inevitable part of life – the untruth.

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20150309123230 old-age c susana-pomba'Old Age' Teatro Praga

‘Old Age’ by Portugal’s Teatro Praga examined another one of life’s inescapable facts as the troupe asked “Do I say I am old because I am old, or am I old because I say I am old?” The question deliberately looped to form an infinite problem, involving the factors of time and knowledge, presented on stage right before the spectators’ eyes.

Related: Macau nightlife: a guide

20150309123231 peach-blossom-fan-03‘1699 The Peach Blossom Fan’ Tian Qinxin

A little too close for comfort? Be assured that MAF is both an advocate of contemporary performing arts and a guardian of Chinese cultural traditions. Director Tian Qinxin’s ‘1699 The Peach Blossom Fan’ preserved the essence of the monumental 44-act Kun Opera about a love story between a scholar and courtesan. Elaborate sets, intricate costumes and the painstaking work of the Jiangsu Performing Arts Group brought this 18th-century musical play to life. All this is just a taste of what the 2016 edition will bring. The 27th Macau Arts Festival runs until 29th May 2016 www.icm.gov.mo

Tickets available through the Macau Ticketing Network