The ArtsCross Beijing 2019 Blog which follows is now presented chronologically as an archived blog narrative.
The documentation provides a record of the process from the first choreographers’ workshop, the dancer selection session, the rehearsals in which the dance works were created and then the final dress rehearsal before the performances. The video recordings and still photographs were created by Middlesex MA Film graduates Rita Duarte and Vlad Spicka who became part of the group and were eventually so familiar to everyone that they achieved the sense of normality that allows effective documentation to take place.
For this project a decision was taken for academics to focus on observation, discussion and the preparation for the conference that always follows the first performance, so there are fewer blog entries than in previous projects. We had enlarged the number of scholars involved, and included colleagues from Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts for the first time, so the discussions were enriched by yet another perspective on artistic practices and wider issues of identity. Dancers had expressed an interest in adding blog materials after the project ended and this suggestion was enthusiastically received as the dancer perspective has not been adequately captured in previous projects, and the reflective consideration of creative work in the inter/transcultural context of ArtsCross often expresses insights that are not apparent in the intensity of the immediate experience.
Little did we know, however, that the world would change so profoundly in the weeks after the project ended as wave after wave of covid-19 infections spread internationally and were met by wave after wave of lockdowns and restrictions. Many plans were put on hold, initially for only a matter of months, but then as the pandemic continued the delays were extended and extended again.
We responded with the plan for an ArtsCross project in Hong Kong in 2022, by participating in a BDA online Forum in November 2020 and by collecting memories of the past 10–12 years since the 2009 Beijing project and the 2011 project which include Taipei National University of the Arts. Some dancers have contributed detailed thoughts on the ArtsCross 2019 experience and some interesting and detailed insights from Rambert graduate dancer Gabriel Ciulli can be seen here and the experiences of
I hope that the documentation below can offer glimpses into the creative processes of the choreographers and dancers – they work intensively with generosity and openness even when they rely on translation to communicate within the group; they form strong connections which outlive the project and sometimes endure for years. From the outset, ArtsCross was about people, even when framed within an international institutional exchange, it is the people who continue to make this work.