Day 2 for Merce

Video clip: day 2 Wang lei & Wang yabin

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Day 2

A day for Merce.

So – [...]

Day 2 studio 703

Studio 703.

Wang mei works at the Academy as a teacher and choreographer. Her background is ballet and Chinese folk dance. She is working with Liu mengchen, Ma linzhi, Chen maoyuan, and Shao junting. These dancers have been working together with Wang mei for a while and the material that they are working on was [...]

Between day 2 & 3

Getting lost at night, walking for hours, trying to find the subway. I come to a square with hundreds of people milling around. No, they are not milling, they are engaged in different physical pursuits. They are dancing. Over here are the roller skaters, wheeling round and round a central point, which consists of a [...]

Day 3 Exhaustion!

day 3 working it out!

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Exhaustion!

Summary. After a very creative and energized day yesterday, everybody is tired — the dancers [...]

Day 3 Strictly floor work

In Wang mei’s studio the dancers are on the floor again, this time lying on their stomachs. I have not yet seen these dancers standing up! Wang mei is also on her stomach with her toes turned under so the balls of her feet are on the floor. She is explaining to the dancers how [...]

Day 4 Endurance

day 4 sun rui

(I am aware that I am not asking questions of the work as I said I would do on day 1. I am not asking questions of relational aesthetics, ecological practice, devising processes, cultural difference, language translation, and choreographic practice. Nor am I asking questions of the dancers’ relationship with Kerry, how knowledge is transferred, the mirror techniques, the affects and attunements of the process. Nor am I making parallels [...]

Day 5 Working the gaps

day 5 wang lei solo

day 5 duets

day 5 Wu Shuai

day 5 wang lei 2

Working the Gaps

Kerry looks like she might be riding a slight panic (with positive energy of course). There are 4 dancers in the space. Wu Weifong is injured and will not be back [...]

Day 6 Pulling together

Video clips:

Day 6 Sun rui day 6 Wang yabin day 6 Wu shuai day 6 zhibou 1

Day 6 Pulling together

Wayne’s blog comment reminds me to write what I respect and learn from Kerry as she works. Her tireless driving energy and rhythmic pace [...]

Day 7 30 minute marathon

sun rui & weifeng day 7

marathon trio: working it out day 7

Kerry has listed the methods she uses when teaching and transferring knowledge of her movement language to students and dancers. This also represents the qualities that are important to her. I attach an image here.

Task (new material):

[...]

Day 7 studio 703 real/empty

wang mei rocking day 7

Wang mei has decided to perform in the work, so now there are 5 performers.

I watch a run of a small section, to music. Dancers are sitting on the floor facing front, swaying slightly, forward and back. I am caught by the concentration, the stillness within the [...]

Day 8 preparing the ending

day 8 beginning

I spent the morning writing up yesterday’s process.

Afternoon

Kerry is talking to the dancers -

— You know the sextet, the lifting phrase altogether? Well good news, it is scrapped.

Kerry sets new line material, as a possible ending and echoing the earlier line material. Three A dancers and three [...]

Day 8 Wang mei

Wang mei rehearsal video

I enter as a discussion is in process about how far to drop their heads as they sit on the floor.

…Time passes, I am watching them all lying on their backs. They are now discussing exactly how Wang mei wants them to initiate arching their necks so that their [...]

Day 9 Qualities

Walking — what happens when dancing stops and walking begins. Can the dancers break out of dance code to walk from A to B, or will the walk become a codified statement? Does walking constitute a gap in the dancing, a pragmatic move from A to B, or is it a full statement. Is a [...]

Day 9 Issues emerging

Issues emerging – welcome discussion and expansion.

The different uses of time and space by the two choreographers. The aesthetics of the different movement languages, classical, fragmented, hybrid, pedestrian. Generic histories of movement languages. Embodying language, outside in and/or inside out. Questions of performing presence — when the dancing stops. Translation and how meaning shifts [...]

Phase three ends

I am picking up the narrative of these postings as the clock robbed Emilyn of the chance to maintain the daily contributions in the final days of this phase of Danscross. I am happy to say that she will fill in the gaps in coming weeks and complete this remarkably rich commentary on the phase [...]

Wang Mei interview

Interview with Wang Mei August 7th

Translator: Xu Rui.

Interviewer: Emilyn (transcribed September 2nd)

Xu Rui’s presence as the translator was integral to the interview process. However, I have edited the text to reflect a direct dialogue between Wang Mei and myself.

Emilyn: I am fascinated in your process and I would like to know more about your work. I would like to ask about your concerns in this piece. Perhaps we [...]

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 [...]