Dance is one of the major loves of my life. It is my therapy. It gives me focus and energy. It calms me down. It is always there when I need it. I can find the soothing power of movement within me wherever I have a little free space and time.
Thus I have long wanted to make a contribution to the dance scene in my local area. Living in London for 10 months in 2013-14, I wrote about dance week in, week out. I lived and breathed dance. But I lived and breathed dance vicariously. Yes, I watched wonderful live performances by some of the world’s major contemporary dance and ballet companies, I read articles, I wrote reviews, I met other writers and I met practitioners. But I did not dance. That’s where I was going wrong.
Beijing’s dance scene has taken me a while to get my teeth into. I spent months searching high and low for anything and everything beyond the National Ballet of China performances at the NCPA. I wanted to keep writing about dance but I needed to get involved, physically.
My first encounter was a little before my birthday last year. On the last Sunday of November and the first Sunday of December a pair of Contact Improvisation (CI) workshops, run by Irene Sposetti and facilitated by Beijing CI, took place at LDTX studios. It was something like 10 hours of dancing plus a live music jam session on the final evening. It utterly exhausted me. But there’s a reason it was my only birthday present from me – I needed it more than I ever had. It had a profound effect on my wellbeing.
The Beijing CI group run weekly Sunday night workshops in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, (6.30-8pm) followed by a free-form jam (8-9.30pm). I see it as a chance to get in touch with my body and focus on the connections between my inner and outer selves while I build relationships with dancers around me. Returning to CI workshops after a long dancing hiatus has flooded my soul with relief.
Most recently, though, I have become involved with Pojie Arts, a Beijing-based organisation that runs transformative and therapeutic dance workshops for people with disabilities. Introduced to Pojie’s co-founders by a mutual contact, we gathered in October to work together towards an event to be held early in December.
I’ve now worked with Pojie participants, founders and volunteers on three occasions. It has been the easiest imaginable creation process – the participants are energetic, intriguing movers while the Pojie facilitators are brimming with fantastic ideas. Needless to say, I am incredibly excited by this project, and so happy to know that our event will raise money to enable Pojie to continue their brilliant work. So, without further ado:
Ever wanted to dance like nobody’s watching?
Transmigrant Flow has teamed up with Pojie Arts to hold a night of dance and merry-making. Pojie Arts runs transformative and therapeutic dance workshops for children and young people with disabilities.
The night will showcase video and photos taken by Michelle Proskell, a participatory dance performance by Pojie’s volunteers and dancers, and a free-flowing, no lights dance party we’re calling Dance in the Dark.
All proceeds will go toward enabling Pojie Arts to continue providing their beneficial workshops for free.
8pm Thurs December 10th 2015 at Modernista, 44 Baochao Hutong, Beijing
Tickets: 50rmb (on the door)
Please contact me for more information about the event.
Check out Beijing’s Contact Improvisation group on Facebook
CI Workshops and classes take place at Capoeria Mandinga Beijing, a ten minute walk from Chaoyangmen Subway station (exit A).