I’m mostly a choreographer and dancer. I was in the Czech Republic and Thailand until 2012, bouncing around different countries without knowing anyone, just inserting myself and seeing what happened. But I wanted to get back to a big city so I decided to move to Shanghai six years ago.
Now I have a modern dance company, SLATE, and run a performance series, IN THE FLESH.
In Shanghai, I’ve noticed there isn’t enough theater space for modern and contemporary dance to grow as an art form. So I find alternative spaces for experimental dance, then curate and produce shows.
I used to run an art space called Bsement 6
, which closed. I founded it with a friend who also wanted to do events but didn’t have space. When we came across this empty basement on Craigslist, we took the risk to rent it and see what we could do.
It gained momentum quickly. Eventually we had to move but both locations had the same underground bunker feeling. Basement 6 was like a playground for artists, with a full range of exhibitions from local and foreign artists.
We also did a lot of film festivals, parties, roller nights, and other weird stuff. It was a great time. But last year, we lost the space for the second time. It’d be hard to bring it back; it’s so much work and we did it all for free. Now I’m just waiting to see what other people do so I can contribute in other ways.
I just started Slate Movement Workshops, a collaboration with this music school in Gubei called Concord
I’m essentially a freelance dance teacher. I teach at a few different studios including Fusion Art Center and at university acting programs like Vancouver Film School and Shanghai Normal University. I also run my own yoga class. I make it pretty cheap and it’s a nice group of people. Every day I’m teaching at least one class somewhere.
Ballet was my first love. I started dancing when I was seven and followed that for a long time. I started modern dance in my twenties when I was studying at California Institute of Arts. When I got to Shanghai, I was still an active dancer and I thought in Shanghai there’d be dance companies to work with but there really weren’t. That’s why I started SLATE in 2013, to give dancers an opportunity to create together.
I’ve worked in film and video for a long time, always in conjunction with dance. I’m doing a Masters right now at Shanghai Theatre Academy
. It’s a program created for foreigners called “Intercultural Communication Studies.” It sounds very formal and business-like but it’s all arts-based.
I made a documentary called “The Politics of Space” which will be screening again December 16. It’s about how there’s not enough theater space in Shanghai.
Normally in a big city, there’d be a ton of people at the mid-range level, so there’d be more performance spaces but it’s definitely different here and so we often end up performing in galleries. The film features interviews on the topic but also some choreography and performative aspects.
A really great center opened about a year and a half ago that’s really helping the dance scene: Shanghai International Dance Center
. I haven’t performed there because it’s for the best in the world, not small potatoes like me, but I enjoy going to see performances. MCAM
and Yuz Museum
have also done good stuff for dance.
Shanghai’s funny in a way, it’s hard to get things going the way they would be in other places, but there’s a possibility to carve your own path if you can figure out how to be a bit flexible. There’s lots of potential here for starting your own thing.