The sizzling summer in Beijing provides the backdrop for the city's annual feast of contemporary dance from July 16 to 28.
The 12th Beijing Dance Festival will gather dance masters from around the world, as well as rising stars in China's contemporary dance scene, offering an opportunity for dancers worldwide to showcase their original works, as well as exchange ideas in choreography.
From July 17-22, the capital's dance lovers will get the chance to attend master classes at the festival's Educational Week, an intensive six-day dance camp taught by an international faculty and featuring artists from countries that include the United States, Israel, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy and Singapore.
A performance week will then follow from July 23 to 28 at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, spotlighting diversified choreography from China, Spain, France, Israel and Belgium. It will contain three sections: Focus presenting full evening productions; Springboard showcasing works that are more edgy and daring; and Youth Dance Marathon offering an open platform especially catered for young choreographers to show original works.
Among the performance week's offerings are Dancing in Beijing by BeijingDance/LDTX on July 23, Winterreise • The Rite of Spring by Hong Kong's City Contemporary Dance Company on July 25, Asylum by Israel's Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company on July 27, and Wreck - List of Extinct Species by Belgium's Insiemi Irreali on July 28.
Dancing to personalities
"Contemporary dance emphasizes very much individual personalities and its connection to modern society. It's about how to use the body to show today's world and society, as well as the development of different places around the world," said Willy Tsao, a festival organizer and artistic director with dance company BeijingDance/LDTX, at a news conference in Beijing.
Compared to previous years, this year's festival will feature a stronger force of Chinese dancers, according to Tsao.
"Chinese contemporary dance has prospered over the past decades. Previously, when people talked about contemporary dance, big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou came to their minds first. But today, more and more young people from other parts of China have taken part in this art. This year, we hope to show more about the landscape of contemporary dance across China." he added.
While asked about the development of contemporary dance in different places within China, Tsao said cities such as Nanning, Chengdu and Nanjing are more active, which is largely influenced by factors such as the city's openness and funding support from the local area.