An abstract dance film where dancers inhabit an imaginary landscape that references memories of lost places.

Journeys through mythical urban environments are portrayed on screen through layers of processed digital video dance and music.

The source material for Silk Dragons includes footage of dancers from Beijing Modern Dance Company, captured in location in Beijing during 2006-07 by director John Crawford with choreographers Gao Yanjinzi and Lisa Naugle.

Much of the film is set in siheyuan, the traditional courtyard houses that once lined the hutongs (alleys) of Beijing. These siheyuan houses and hutongs have since been demolished, as have many others, in the massive waves of urban redevelopment currently transforming Beijing.

Composed by Alan Terricciano and recorded live in performance, the music for the film is a setting of text from a series of ancient and modern Chinese poems in contemporary translations by Arthur Sze.

Watch online

International Festival for Visual Arts, Nerja, Spain. June 2010.

UCI Chamber Music Series, Irvine, CA. May 2010.


Director & media design: John Crawford

Choreographers: Gao Yanjinzi & Lisa Naugle

Singer: Darryl Taylor, in concert (music credits)

Dancers: Beijing Modern Dance Company

Production date: May 2010