The Secret of WUTIANYUAN:
Movements exist in the present, which passes…
and becomes a memory
of a past
that never was,
but always is. Hence, memory causes movements to move: our hearts, minds, and bodies,
the summit of the world, the sky,
which grounds my claim to move the past into the present, and the present to pass. Movement is
the depth of the earth, the soil,
which offers a foundation for the appearance of a moment
that I can remember.
heaven and earth, the sky and the soil,
the summit and the foundation, they all move together, dancing,
The Wu Tian Yuan Ballet is founded by Flora Zeta Cheong-Leen and Dr. Johan Stjernholm. Boldly facing the intricate complexities of our world, Flora and Johan aim to celebrate the unique dynamics of what often is referred as the ‘East’ and the ‘West’, as a paradoxical unity of mutually exclusive elements: Refined traditions of eastern fatalism merged with sceptical western postmodernity; an oxymoronic universalism of the particular, where the intimate human condition, individuality, and personal relationships often appear as accidental outcomes of fragmented processes of globalization.
Living in such a world, how do we see beauty in the new and the different? To what extent do we dare to live, to feel, to love, and to remember? Is it at all possible to place our feet firmly on the ground, so that we can reach… towards the very summit of our beings?
The Wu Tian Yuan Ballet is Flora and Johan’s invitation to you to come and share their vision of the world, a wondrous place, fragile, subtle, and always very, very human. A world where beauty is hidden behind the thin veil of memory, or an acute ability to perceive movements in the fleeing present: the dance of Wu Tian Yuan!
Flora Zeta Cheong-Leen is born in Hong Kong and was trained at Jean M. Wong School of Ballet from the age of five. At 11 years of age, she was the first Chinese to have been accepted into the Royal Ballet School, White Lodge, in London. Upon graduation from the Royal Ballet Senior School, she was selected to join the Royal Ballet Company at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Flora won her first dance medal at the international Adeline Genee Competiton, arranged by the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and a choreographic prize at Dame Ninette De Valois choreographic competition. Another choreographic award was given to her by Sir Frederick Ashton. Having trained choreography under Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Flora also won the Royal Ballet Senior Choreographic Competition. Following her remarkable achievements, Flora was chosen to train with the Paris Opera Company for one year.
Returning to Hong Kong, Flora worked as a dancer and choreographer for the Hong Kong Ballet, as well as an actor and fashion designer. She was invited to become a member of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee of the Hong Kong Ballet.
Flora is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Techno Artist Productions and concentrates her artistic endeavors in performing arts, films, costume and fashion designing. She founded Tian Art Fashion Design House in Hong Kong and London in 1991, and showcased her own design around the world.
She is actively involved in numerous charitable organizations through her Tian Art Foundation since 1999, and established her performing arts school, The Conservatory of International Style and Cultural Arts (CISCA) in Beijing in 2009.
Flora was awarded the Ten Most Outstanding Young Persons Award in 1990 in Hong Kong, The French Chamber of commerce Award of “Women of 21st Century” in 2000, China International Grand Master Fashion Designer Award in 2003 and The World Outstanding Chinese Business and Art Award in 2007 and received the Honorary Doctorate.
Dr. Johan Stjernholm is born in Sweden, and moved to London in 1999. Johan first trained dance at Ballettakademien (the Academy of Ballet) in Sweden, and subsequently studied contemporary dance and choreography at the Laban conservatoire in London. Johan graduated from Laban in 2002 with a BA (Hons.) in Dance Theatre, and in 2003 with an MA in European Dance Theatre Practice from Laban. The same year he also started his own award winning and critically acclaimed dance company SpaceEngineering.
In the spring of 2010, Johan finalised his PhD thesis, in which he develops new notions of perception of dance and creative choreographic processes. After receiving his title as a Doctor, Johan started to work as a Lecturer in Choreography and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dance in London.
Over the years, Johan has been working together with some of the most distinguished dance practitioners and scholars in the UK, including the choreographer Rosemary Butcher, the choreologist Dr. Valerie Preston-Dunlop, and the scholar Prof. Helen Thomas. In 2012, Johan and Flora Zeta Cheong-Leen started to collaborate in the form of the Wu Tian Yuan Ballet.