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The Modern and the Contemporary

This has been our sixth day of cultural visits in the Chinese capital, and it is now that I am slowly getting a feel for, and starting to form an initial (and still tentative) overview of the arts and in particular the contemporary dance scene. In the last few days we visited among other cultural institutions three contemporary dance companies: Beijing Modern Dance Company, LDTX, and Beijing City Contemporary Dance Company, and were able [...]

The individual tradition

I understand that when modern dance teaching first gained a foothold in China in the wake of modernisation and decentralisation a decade or so after the Cultural Revolution – in places such as the Guangdong Academy in Gunangzhou in the late 1980s – the tension between (Western) individualism and (Eastern) collectivism must have been a major issue. After all, Maoist orthodoxy, Chinese family structures as well as the dance forms people had so far engaged in (such as ballet [...]

Looking back

Having departed from Beijing a few days ago, I am now reminiscing about our experiences in China’s cultural capital which I shall aim to summarise here in an impressionistic form, but true to the kaleidoscope of encounters, visits and studio practice observations we had during our fascinating time there.

One cannot help noticing that the topic most frequently addressed was the East-West encounter in terms of dance technique, funding situations [...]