Composer Huang Ruo and choreographer Michael Mao come together for two performances of “Cultural Convergences” this weekend. Mao has made three dances , two to Huang Ruo’s music: Drama Theater I: Sound of Hand and Drama Theater III: Shifting Shades. The second is played by percussion, piano, cello and 18 beer bottles. Presumably beer will not be consumed on stage! Sound of Hand probably will have a lot of clapping. Huang Ruo is a composer interested in unusual sounds. Even when he uses traditional instruments, they always sound different.

The last piece will be danced to Mahler’s “Der Abschied” from Das Lied von der Erde (in a new version for large chamber ensemble by Yoon Jae Lee). Since the lyrics of the song cycle are Chinese poems from 1200 years ago, this is a fitting conclusion of the “Cultural Convergences” theme. Although without lyrics, the dance may not need to stick to the “Farewell” theme. We’ll see.