Zhao Feiyan 趙飛燕, the legendary Han Dynasty imperial concubine of Emperor Cheng, was said to have entranced the Emperor with her superb
dancing skills. According to legend, she was described to be "light as a
swallow and able to dance on one's palm". The mesmerized Emperor later
made her his Empress.
Such stories of glitz and glamor, however, hid the truth of the Han dancers's plight. Deprived of
freedom and free will, these tragic beauties lived and died at the command of
the Emperor and his officials.
In "Chinese Witch Hazel", performer Yeung Sin Ching's 杨倩菁 tribute to the lives and legacies of the Han
dancers is captured in hundreds of blinking, animated LED diodes. Like the
dancers who have fired our imagination with the transcendent beauty of their
movements, she whirls and twirls away into eternity. [Loo Ching Ling 吕晶琳]