Scene 6: Cathay – Nation / Prosperous Passage to Rebirth

Anne-Marie Culhane, dance


Seven Stars School of Taijiquan


Kimho Ip, Yangchin

Cathay House Blend – a site-specific performance

活 vibrant

色 colours

生 life

香 fragrant

國 nation

泰 prosperous

民 people

安 peaceful

Artistic Director: Kimho Ip

Film: Matt Brown

(Blimey Productions)

Synergy Director: William Wong

Choreographers: Anne-Marie Culhane,

Chang Zhang

Tai-Chi: Bob Lowey

(Seven Stars School of Taijiquan)

Music: FOUND / Shi Yan / Kimho Ip

CONCEPTION of CATHAY HOUSE BLEND - by Kimho Ip and William Wong


Cathay House Blend may sound like a new brand of herbal infusion; or even coffee.  On Saturday, 18th November, the Hawthornden Court within the National Museum of Scotland becomes an imaginary teahouse with distinctive sounds and movement, live music and tai chi sequences.


As in a European café, artists, intellectuals and communities in China traditionally meet at a teahouse to share and debate ideas.  Chinese Teahouse culture provides the inspirations for this inter-cultural event to celebrate Chinese traditions and introduce contemporary performing art forms to reflect the convergence of western and Chinese arts today.


Not all tea is served with milk.  A traditional Chinese Erhu tune played on top of an electronic groove does not create contemporary fusion in itself.  The different styles of expressions by musicians and dancers could coexist to create an organic improvisation.  Cathay House Blend is an inter-cultural production that avoids the usual cliché of fusion.  It doesn’t compromise but reconcile.


Experience in working with the Scottish Chinese community is incorporated in this commissioned piece.  For the younger generations, practicing tai chi, indulgence at the mahjong table, or playing the Yangchin and Erhu are activities associated with their parents’ generation.  The re-discovery of heritage and search for identity is often hit and miss.


This piece was not conceived as a play initially, hence without a script.  The greatest challenge to realise the vision of turning a five-storey high museum foyer into a make-believe tea house without an elaborate set lies in creating a sensory experience for the audience who may just be passing by, with no prior knowledge of the site-specific performance.


The Chinese title of Cathay House Blend refers to a prosperous, peaceful and vibrant life.  The journey in search of an imaginary space, where cultures of the East and West truly interact, takes us to some references from 1930’s Shanghai that symbolised “East meets West”.  The reality of the world at that time was, however, far from being peaceful and vibrant. For many Chinese people, playing mahjong lets you escape from reality in the heat of the game.  Tea restores sanity and offers comfort, even for just a moment.

2008: Dialogues of Wind and Bamboo

Otavio and Kimho duo first performance at Zaragoza

Concierto Kim-ho Ip y Otavio Assis

Brasil en Zaragoza

  • 13 de junio en Centro Cívico Universidad

El compositor, director y violoncelista chino Kimho-Ip viene a Zaragoza a realizar un concierto juntamente con el acordeonista Otavio Assis Brasil en el Centro cívico Universidad el día 13 de Junio a las 20h.

El repertorio incluye música española, sudamericana y oriental.

Kimho es doctor en música y profesor en la universidad de Lingnan en Hong-Kong.

A documentary film about Skymap’s cultural travelling programme, bringing 12 kids from Hong Kong in a visit to Edinburgh in 2011: 

Kimho’s composition directed by Christopher Austin and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

China Now 2008 in Edinburgh

A New Voice to the Muted – Live Music for Chinese Silent Films

Dr. Ip and Marianne Yeo published the article on the April 2013 issue of Friends of the Art Museum, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Skymap will present further performances combining silent films with musicians playing the soundtrack live.

Mother’s Day Celebration at LRC, 12 May 2013

Skymap Trio will perform music at the Mother’s Day event at the Lady’s Recreation Club (LRC). Music repertoire from Schubert to Sakamoto, french chanson to cinema classics.