Phase four soon to begin

Creative Process Phase 4 will begin on 19 October in Beijing

Watch the process as it unfolds here with:

Choreographers – Jonathan Lunn, Carolyn Choa, and Zhao Tiechun Documentors – Katherine Mezur, Pan Li and Liu Xiaozhen and dancers of the BDA Company

Cold birds and pets October 19

Blog October 19, 2009 k Mezur Cold birds and pets October 19 Beijing Dance Academy BIG BIRTHDAY party last night at the Military Theatre. Security at the door took your temperature on entering with a gun like instrument held near your neck, and you pass through a metal detector. But everyone else thinks this is nothing new. To enter the Theatre you must take off your [...]

touch and duets October 20

October 20, 2009 Blog-a-way at BDA My context: Found out more about the Cultural Revolution. Depends so much on generation, more on that later. Took a Mongolian Dance Class at the nearby University of Ethnic Studies. Amazing revelations, incredible teacher. Could understand better where some of the gestures come from in the improvisations in Jonathan’s group and the dance training for all the dancers and one of the choreographers draws on this kind of vocabulary. All the gestures involve [...]

yunlu and couples

October 21, 2009 yunlu and couples

What ever I hear or ask is filtered through different people. Even when they say that “primary source material” (like face to face encounter) is what a researcher wants to get, that this is the raw material of research, but really “in translation” means a kind of change has happened to the source material: it is already transformed. Thus research is creative [...]

October 22 dreams and twists

October 22, 2009 Both choreographers are shaping the movement material that the dancers have created, learned, absorbed, and discovered. Tiechun, Jonathan, and Carolyn compose and/or build these dances surrounded by cameras, observers, student helpers, interpreters, friends, faculty from the school, and designers. Outside in the bicycle lane: Beijing, I know, is not “China” but I see these radical signs of transformation: three wheeled vehicles fill the side “bicycle” [...]

elegant distortion and markets

October 23, 2009 Elegant distortions and markets Only a short time in Tiechun’s room today. The problem is in this job of observing and blogging, one’s heart and attention is always divided because I have to move from one dance-making session to the next and they are happening simultaneously. Further complications: Jonathan has an interpreter assigned him no matter what, so the interpretation there is guaranteed and I am not totally lost [...]

Introductions

I’ve been on earth for more than half a century, and writing about dance and performance for more than half that time, and yet this is my first time to China. Kung Fu Panda was, I think, a good choice for an airplane movie. (Best line: ‘We do not wash our pits in the Pool of Sacred Tears.’) I shrugged off and then slept away jet lag. It helped that, instead of crashing as soon [...]

Recent photos

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Oct 26 Music sound gesture

Oct. 26 2009 Music sound gesture

Dancing to and beside music. At some point, I have to deal with the music going on here. Jonathan listened to his ipod while watching the work as we moved through last week. He was sorting and feeling out what was going to work best. I think it was Friday or Saturday when he played three music selections to the same movement sequence and asked the dancers [...]

Card-carrying and carefree

I’ve only been here two days, but already i feel like a foreigner who belongs. I mean, I’ve become a card-carrying member of the National Library (conveniently located in an impressive new building just across the street from my hotel) and also signed up for a discount card from a nearby shop that sells sweets and all kinds of dried fruit. Now all I need is an invitation to join the Communist Party.

I’d [...]

Shake it up Oct 27/28

October 27, 2009 Shake it Out Every morning before going to the rehearsals at BDA, I go to the nearby Zizhuyuan Park. The name of the park has something to do with royal bamboo, which is everywhere and there is a separate bamboo specialty garden-within-the-garden. At 7AM the park is hopping, literally with over 15 [...]

Airing My Views

I’m like a sponge in Beijing soaking up impressions, information, interpretations. I use the latter word even though I’m largely observing the Danscross dance-making sans an interpreter, largely by choice. I guess I figure that if dance is indeed the universal language, that pretty much ought to hold true in the studio too. Which is not to say that I’m not taking advantage of Emily or Annie’s presence, or at all refusing [...]

Vital Signs

Fascinating and fun to watch Avatara Ayuso prepare to bring Shobana Jeyasingh’s dance — made at the very start of Danscross — back up to speed yesterday. It’s a sextet featuring, with one exception, dancers I have enjoyed watching this week in freshly-made pieces. Avatara is a wonderful teacher, in command yet relaxed. And she’s learning Mandarin!

I’m not quite clear about why the dancers balked at going barefoot. I see now that [...]

Helluva spell

Random thoughts and observations, or else I may never feel caught up with myself here:

The BDA Dance Company, as ringmaster Chris Bannerman put it to me the other day, is kind of the Chinese equivalent to NDT2. I wonder how the dancers perceive themselves, their place in the national (and, why not, global) culture, their sense of achievement and what potential they feel they collectively embody. My colleague Katherine has been [...]

Blogalong: October 31, 2009, October 30, moving backwards and forwards.

Where are we? We are in China, The People’s Republic of China. It struck me as I use the yuan money that is printed with many Mao images: a kind of ”Mao” is everywhere. The academy is overwhelming sometimes: dance in five or six studios down 7 floors of classrooms with windows: they are dance rich. In our project, the aim towards the proscenium stage concert might have added pressure [...]