On the eve before International Women’s Day I watched a dance performance of The Legend of Mulan. The poem is about a young woman who dresses up as a man and joins the army in place of her elderly father. She is away for 12 years fighting before she returns home.
The Disney romanticises the story with her falling in love with her captain. When the poem is more about her indpendence, heroism, femininity vs. masculinity and filial piety. But what Disney cartoon is complete without any hint of romance? What female heroine is complete without marriage and a happily ever after?
The dance is less about the Disney version and more about the poem. Even though she spent 12 years at war, the violence and action you would expect didn’t manage to translate. It was a very pretty ballet and but Mulan didn’t come across as a hero as much as in the poem.