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Obsessed with the moves

Chen Nan
Updated: Jul 6,2015 10:16 AM     China Daily

This year’s Beijing Dance Festival features 13 programs, including Organized Chaos by Singapore’s T.H.E. Company.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A Beijing dance festival has kept its heels dug into the cultural scene for past few years, even as it seeks market traction, Chen Nan reports.

It hasn’t waltzed into market triumph yet, but the Beijing Dance Festival is still kicking seven years after its inception.

The two-week international gathering of contemporary dance companies, local young dancers and amateurs, scheduled from July 16-28, will feature a youth dance marathon, new choreographers’ original works, smaller innovative projects and major international productions.

More than 100 artists from Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei and 10 countries, including the United States, Israel, Spain, Singapore and New Zealand, will perform in 13 programs.

The opening program, Faded Monologue, by Beijing Dance/LDTX’s resident choreographer Ma Bo, will be staged at Beijing’s PLA Theater on July 23.

Her first solo choreography is a reflection of a woman in Beijing’s fast-paced life.

The Shaanxi province native graduated with a degree in ethnic Chinese dance from the Beijing Dance Academy in 1991 and joined the Guangdong Modern Dance Company in 1993. She co-founded Beijing Dance/LDTX in 2005.

The 46-year-old says: “My personal life as a wife and mother has become entangled with my choreography. I have a lot to say with my work. The emotion is complicated. It tells of a woman’s career passion, attitude toward aging and inner struggle. She can be strong, vulnerable and sentimental at the same time.”

Faded Monologue, choreographed by Ma Bo, will open the festival.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A highlight of this year’s festival is Israel’s L-E-V (heart in Hebrew) Dance Company, says program director Karen Cheung.

They’ll perform their newest production, OCD Love, inspired by the Neil Hilborn’s love poem, OCD, at the PLA Theater on July 24.

DJ Ori Lichtik sets it to techno. Gai Beihar, choreographer of the Israeli company, calls his music “a great inspiration and strength that can completely change the direction of the piece”.

Cheung says the festival always introduces a handful of relatively unknown but quality works.

To this end, New Zealand’s Atamira will stage its Maori cultural piece, Moko, at Beijing’s Nine Theater on July 25.

“It’s interesting to see how tradition negotiates with the contemporary world,” Cheung says.

The festival will also bring three Spanish choreographic works.

Cheung says this collection will give the audience a more multidimensional perspective of Spanish contemporary dance.

The Beijing Dance Festival was launched in 2008. It features a camp for amateur dancers and master classes for other performers.

“While contemporary dance isn’t mainstream in China, the market is improving every year,” Cheung says.

Ticket sales respectively improved by 20 percent and 45 percent in 2013 and 2014, she says.

Sales at least nod toward a revolt, if not a revolution.