Little Treasure-pre

Dancer Patricia Zhou’s Moving Performance Little Treasure Is A Study Of Family Grief

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Los Angeles-based dancer Patricia Zhou has written, choreographed, and danced in a short film titled ‘Little Treasure’. Premiering on IGNANT, the contemporary solo performance tells the story of her relationship with her grandfather, in honor of the two year anniversary of his passing.

“As in the tradition of many Chinese families, my family hid my grandfather’s sickness from him when they found out about his late-stage cancer diagnosis,” Zhou explains to IGNANT. Shortly after her grandfather passed away, she performed the “Dying Swan,” a classical ballet solo in which the dancer portrays a swan as it nears the end of its life. In the solo, the swan does not realize it’s dying, and therefore continues to struggle living until the end. With this, Zhou experienced a powerful resonance with her grandfather, who died six months after his diagnosis, not knowing what was happening to him or why he was in so much pain. “When I performed ‘The Dying Swan’, I was so powerfully moved,” Zhou says. “To have the opportunity to feel at that moment on stage, that I was merely a vehicle to tell this story, not just of the swan, but of my grandfather and of all life that one day will pass. In this journey of grief, submission, and acceptance, I was incredibly humbled.”

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Filmed in an empty warehouse, ‘LittleTreasure’ explores grief and acceptance through the alchemy of movement—to powerful and cinematic effect. Using dance to express emotions, and with a voiceover of a compelling poem she wrote on hearing of his passing, Zhou hopes to bring the viewer on an unexpected journey to transform their ideas on what narrative dance can do. Believing that dance and art are the universal languages that tie humanity together, the Royal Ballet dancer hopes to unite viewers of all backgrounds through her work, particularly during a time when the world feels so divided.

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Video written and choreographed by Patricia Zhou.