Ben's Letter From China

Dec 18, 2009

Hello from Beijing!

I'm flying all over China on tour with reps from the Major University Presenters (MUPs) organization to create relationships with performing and visual arts institutions in China and their US presenting counterparts - all in efforts to bring the depth of Chinese performing and visual arts to the US and your one and only, Northrop.

I have finally arrived in Beijing after a five day whirlwind. Our first two days in Shanghai were spectacular! There are many artists to get ecstatic about.  My favorite pick so far: Jin Xing Dance Theatre of Shanghai, a contemporary dance company created by one of the rare contemporary cultural gems from China. The company will do their first US tour next year....hopefully, Northrop will be on that map!

Here's an interesting documentary that I thought you might enjoy.  It enhanced the importance of Jin Xing's role in Chinese performing arts for me.  The clip compares and contrasts the unconventional life of Jin Xing, with the more traditional path of Chinese State Ballet prima ballerina Xin Lili. The documentary also highlights the revolutionary social standards set by her sex change, the first such operation seen in China.

We then travelled on to Chengdu, the capitol of the Sichuan province.  The area is brimming with folkloric companies fusing dance with unique vocal traditions and fascinating puppet groups.

What's on the upcoming agenda? We'll start with a tour of the Olympic Stadium, and then we'll be introduced to 20 eye-popping Chinese artists over the next three days!

Until the next road stop!

– Ben

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