ArtsCross Memories

Professor Christopher Bannerman
Posted: March 2021

The ArtsCross Beijing 2019 project marked the 10th anniversary of the first collaboration between Beijing Dance Academy (BDA) and ResCen Research Centre, the Danscross: dancing in a shaking world project which culminated in a performance and conference in 2009. In 2019, after some meetings to tie up loose ends and the final farewells, I left Beijing on 7 November intending to return in March to plan the next ArtsCross event and to gather some reflections on the past 10 years.

In the event, Covid-19 prevented my return and now in March 2021 we are approaching the 10th anniversary of the expanded partnership which included Taipei National University of the Arts and led to the ArtsCross 2011 Taipei project. So memories were collected via email and WeChat and, while there are more to come, those that have arrived are posted below.

I was curious about the after-effects of ArtsCross, the ripples that emanate outward and disappear from view, and have influences and outcomes beyond our perception. In part this curiosity stemmed from the fact that change was designed into the project from the outset. My BDA colleague and co-founding ArtsCross director, Professor Xu Rui, alludes to this in his memory contribution when he notes that: ‘Scholars personally enter the rehearsal site to observe, and choreographers and dancers face a creation and performance environment with research conditions and activities’.

This was a key concern in 2019 when the dance studies and performance strands of BDA had formed silos that he felt were simply echo-chambers and we looked together for a way to address that. From my perspective, I was troubled by the echo-chamber of Anglosphere dance and discourse which simply effaced large segments of dance and ultimately diminished the art form and the discipline. Xu Rui had studied in the United States and understood my concern; I had experienced other tensions between research and practice and understood his concerns.

There were other aims of that first project including providing pathways for institutional, disciplinary and personal development and exchange. ArtsCross has provided me with such a path and so I was curious about others involved in this initiative. Below there are responses from those involved, spanning the years from 2009-2019 – more will be added in future and my thanks to all of those who have participated.

ArtsCross 2019 group photo, Beijing

Xu Rui (Vice President, Beijing Dance Academy): Danscross 2009, ArtsCross 2011–2019
Martin Welton (Queen Mary University of London): ArtsCross 2011–2019
Kate March (research assistant, London): ArtsCross 2011
Professor Tong Yan (Beijing): ArtsCross 2009–2014
Emily Wilcox (University of Michigan, USA): Danscross 2009
Professor Heng Ping (Taipei National University of the Arts): ArtsCross 2011-2013
Paul Rae (National University of Singapore): Danscross 2009, ArtsCross 2011 and 2013
Professor Yunyu Wang (Taipei National University of the Arts): ArtsCross 2011-2019
Donald Hutera (Dance writer, London): Danscross 2009, ArtsCross 2011–2013
Ted Warburton (University of California, Santa Cruz): ArtsCross 2011–2013
Shuo (Sally) Cai (Graduate, Beijing Dance Academy): ArtsCross 2019

Carolyn Choa (choreographer): Danscross 2009
Jonathan Lunn (choreographer, London): Danscross 2009
Riccardo Buscarini (choreographer, London): ArtsCross 2013
Joy Alpuerto Ritter (choreographer, London): ArtsCross 2019
Avatâra Ayuso (choreographer, London): Danscross 2009, ArtsCross 2011
Khamlane Halsackda (choreographer, London): ArtsCross 2011
Liu Yan (choreographer, Beijing): Danscross 2009, ArtsCross 2012–2014
Alexander Whitley (choreographer, London): ArtsCross 2011
Rachel Lopez (choreographer, London): ArtsCross 2012

Zhao Zhibo (dancer, Beijing): Danscross 2009, ArtsCross 2011-2019
Gabriel Ciulli (dancer, London): ArtsCross 2019
Wang Zihan (dancer, Beijing): ArtsCross 2009, 2011 and 2014
Lara Fournier (dancer, London): ArtsCross 2019
Ma Jiaolong (dancer, Beijing): ArtsCross 2012 and 2014
Olivia Grassot (dancer, London): ArtsCross 2019
Wang Yabin (dancer, choreographer, Beijing): ArtsCross 2009 and 2019
Wu Shuai (dancer, Beijing): ArtsCross 2009, 2012 and 2014
Wu Weifeng (dancer, Beijing): ArtsCross 2009
Yi-Chi Lee (dancer, Taipei): ArtsCross 2011, 2012 and 2013