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Modern Dancer Anneliese Charek

Dec 7, 2018

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.



  • This venue has now closed

    Basement6 Art Collective

    • Address
      Basement, 115 Pingwu Lu, near Xingfu Lu
      平武路115号, 近幸福路
    • Phone

    Underground [literally] art gallery near the Jiaotong University subway station. They regularly host offbeat events like a "No Lights No Lyrca" dance class in the dark, exhibitions by street artists, music video shoots, and film screenings. Eccentric crowd. It's not... Read more

  • Concord Music School

    • Address
      Sutie 803, 678 Gubei Lu, near Xianxia Lu
      古北路678号803室, 近仙霞路
    • Phone
      5235 7398

    Read more

  • Shanghai Theatre Academy

    • Address
      630 Huashan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu
      上海戏剧学院, 华山路630号, 近乌鲁木齐路
    • Phone
      6248 1866

    Read more

  • Shanghai International Dance Center

    • Address
      1650 Hongqiao Lu, near Shuicheng Lu
      虹桥路1650号, 近水城路
    • Phone
      5299 0372

    State of the art dance performance and education hub, covering 39,100 sqm spread over ten buildings. They're got a huge, sleek and modern-looking 1,000+ occupancy grand theater, as well as smaller experimental spaces, all specially designed for dance. Opened in 2016... Read more

  • Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum

    • Address
      436 Yonghe Dong Lu, near Pingxingguan Lu
      永和东路436号, 近平型关路
    • Phone
      6445 1199

    Opened in 2014, Ming Contemporary Art Museum (McAM) is located up north in Zhabei District. The vast, 15-meter height two-story building used to be a workshop in the Shanghai Paper Manufacturing Factory. It is now a non-profit institute, focuses mainly on... Read more

  • YUZ Museum

    • Address
      35 Fenggu Lu, near Longteng Avenue
      丰谷路35号 近龙腾大道
    • Phone
      6210 5207

    Opened in May 2014, YUZ Museum Shanghai is the second major private institution to grace the city's West Bund area. This one is the brainchild of Chinese-Indonesian collector, Budi Tek and will host rotating exhibitions sourced from his own massive collection of... Read more

[Shanghai Famous]:

Shanghai Famous is a SmartShanghai column focusing on people out there in the city makin' the scene. They're out there around town, shaping Shanghai into what it is, creating the art, culture, and life around us. We asked them what's good in Shanghai. We asked them what's bad in Shanghai. We asked them to tell us more, more, more about their wonderful selves.

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