Temperature: 35°C (in the shadow)
The phrase of the day: ni hao! Ni hao ma? // Hello, how are you?
Today has been a very exciting day for everyone involved in the audition process. We had a group of about 90 dancers from Taiwan, mainland China (a few from America), all eager to work with the 10 choreographers that will develop a piece during the next three weeks in the Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA).
The first thing that has taken my attention is how well organized everything was. The team of the Dance department is incredibly efficient. You can see they are very used to deal with large numbers of people! and make them work in perfect harmony. How pleasant to work like this.
The first questions that came to my mind as I stepped in the dance studio were: what to look at when you confront yourself with dancers that you have never seen?; how to chose about 6 of them out of 90 in just 3 hours? My first criteria were to consider the body type, and the facility to remember the taught sequence. Considering I’m looking for certain physicality in the movement I could see some of the participants were still too young or too tiny to deliver what I was looking for. Once we did that first cut I concentrated on who was able to improvise and make instant changes when a correction was being given to them. Even though I’m sure in my decision I missed many good dancers… They all did it very well, you could see they believe in what they do, you could see they really want to DANCE.
Already in the audition I could perceive certain differences in the training of the dancers coming from Taiwan or from Beijing. Those from Taiwan are very good at improvising (how creative they were!); they have a good sense for group rhythm and are very open to try new things. Those coming from Beijing were very good at slow motion (how magnificent they are in keeping their balance!) and at delivering elegant movements with incredible precision. Their capacity to remember phrases was remarkable. I’m glad that finally all the choreographers have been able to have participants from both cities. I’m sure that is going to be a great inspiration for us, the choreographers.
The selection process has been very complex and it has taken us about 2 hours to make the puzzle. But the main thing is that it has been a great example of collaboration and negotiation between Taiwan, mainland China and England.
I hope I can establish an open dialogue with my chosen dancers, and make a piece for/with them where the exchange of ideas and thoughts is the leading force during the creative process.
PS. I have to say that I finally couldn’t help it and instead of 6 I have ended up with 14 dancers (5 males and 9 females). How exciting!