The DANSCROSS 2009 Blog which follows is now presented chronologically as an archived blog narrative.

And so it begins

After years of discussion, months of planning, weeks, days, hours and minutes of weaving, ducking and diving through the expected and unexpected, we are here in Beijing, at Beijing Dance Academy. We are in a studio, alone, except for Shobana, and the dancer/demonstrator Avatara Ayuso, the BDA dancers, the interpreters, the organisers, the academics, the [...]

Photos 12 May

Photos from the rehearsal of the Chinese choreographer Zhang Yunfeng



Shobana Jeyasingh in rehearsal at BDA



Notes on observing

I’ve been in Beijing for three days now, spending time in the studio both with Shobana Jeyasingh and Zhang Yunfeng and their respective dancers. In Shobana’s case in particular, the choreographic process is a process of working out what the choreography is. This gives me food for thought – but it also begs a question [...]

Notes on not observing: 18 May – 11.30am

Notes on not not observing: 18 May – 11.33am

Another moment

Studio 405

Because this trip was arranged quite late, it took a while for final ethics approval to come through from my university for things like formal interviews and video documentation. Up until then, this was the only picture I took. No human subjects!

There are many studios like this at the BDA – seven per [...]


In a short presentation to the group yesterday, I described the choreographer Zhang Junfeng as having a velevety Chinese smoker’s voice. He talks a lot to his dancers as he works with them. The tone is soft, almost hypnotic; the voice deep, though not so much rough or gravelly as richly burred. It’s a [...]

“Being” a genius or “have” a genius?

I have just found a video of Elisabeth Gilbert talking about the artist creation process (see link below). As DanceCross questions this matter, among others, I wanted to share this with you all. It is just 15min, it’s worth watching until the end (when the dancer and the “olé!” are brought together!).



Over to you, Jay

Both of you!

Notes on joining a project midway through

How can I refuse a summons like that? (Paul’s ‘Over to you, Jay’, below)

I arrived in Beijing midway through phase one of the project. I can’t comment with any authority or conviction on the choreographic process, because I entered the studio and saw nearly finished dances being rehearsed.

So I am going to talk [...]

Intercultural…? Some speculations on process, institutions, and funding

I read that Dancross is designed to facilitate inter-cultural collaboration and I’m thinking about what that term might mean in this context.

In the US and in Britain, when we speak of ‘intercultural’ dance work, we refer to movement languages, an exchange between the vocabularies (units of movement) and syntaxes (systems of organization) of different [...]