The story of the silk princess comes from the mysterious Far East and is based on two legends.
Silk was discovered accidentally by the wife of the Yellow Emperor, ruler of China. It made the Yellow Emperor a very rich man. Everything pertaining to the production of silk was protected and the Yellow Emperor did not allow any of it to be smuggled out of the country. Everyone envied the Yellow Emperor and wanted to get their hands on this new discovery. Including the King of Khotan.
The king hatched a plan and asked to marry one of the imperial princesses. The emperor granted his request and picked young Si-Lin. She was told that there were no silkworms and trees in Khotan, meaning she could no longer make silk clothes. If she insisted on wearing silk clothes, she would have to arrange for silk herself. The princess thought long and hard about a way to smuggle the silkworms and the cocoons out of the country. She had beautiful long hair and before she left she had her hairdressers create a special hairdo for her and she hid the cocoons and the silkworms inside it. When she arrived at the border they checked her thoroughly, but no one dared inspect her beautiful hairdo.
And that is how Si-Lin smuggled silk out of the country and embarked on a long journey together with her friends, the Uyghur people, a Turkic-language speaking people from Xinjiang. A journey full of adventure and peril, but with one spectacular result: Si-Lin brought silk to all corners of the world!
On her journey Si-Lin came in contact with many new cultures and she tried to learn from all of them. Crossing the Taklamakan desert, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Persia, Iraq and Syria, it took her eight years to travel from China to Syria and from there silk was spread across Europe. The road she travelled became the most important road in history: the Silk Road.
This production was inspired by dance material from several countries along the Silk Road, such as the Pamiri from Tajikistan, the Atlas from Uzbekistan, the Jalam Khar from Mongolia, the Dabke from Syria, and Chinese classical dance.