On Sunday evening, Tania (a Belgian friend from ballet class) and I went to see ‘Introdans’ at the Shanghai Center Theater as Jazz du Funk had managed to get some reduced price tickets. Perfect, as I love watching live dance. Celebrating their 40th year, they are a renowned Dutch dance ensemble who present ‘modern ballet performances on the themes old masters, contemporary partners, new talent’ by combining classical and modern dance techniques…somewhat experimental in part, I would even say conceptual, and then traditionally sublime in others, always touching on the theatrical. Costume choices were inventive using a broad mix of fabrics and textures, and there were also film and image projections used throughout adding another contemporary live art edge to the performance. A complete feast for the eyes, awe-inspiring and it definitely made me realise (again) how much I love this art form, and how my current ballet skills are particularly “basic”, and that’s being polite…although I do feel that my body is changing and becoming more flexible even after only doing it for a few weeks. I got a très bien for my kicks and posture this week…it put a big smile on my face to know that there is still the potential to be good at it again after 14 or more years out of the game.
When I left my apartment block, I found sheets of paper written on with Chinese characters. I wish I knew Mandarin. It intrigued me as to how they’d got lost from their owner and why they were there. It got me thinking on the way to meet Tania at ‘Barbarossa’, where we had a huge pot of Moroccan mint tea each before heading to the theatre. The bar is in the People’s Park area of Shanghai near to the ‘Shanghai Art Museum’ as shown rather gothically in the photograph below on the right. A beautiful location in a very tourist popular are of the city. During the evening chats, we realised that we both knew my housemates French business partner Matt…as always, the world is a very small place where everyone is very interlinked with not many degrees of separation. What was even funnier was, when we arrived at the ballet, we found Matt was there with his friends! Seriously, the world is a small place…or maybe just Shanghai…I’m going with both. The video below isn’t the exact choreography we saw on the night, but it shows you some of what they do and just how conceptual they can make the usually traditional dance form of ballet.