May 7– 11, 2008
Having the flexibility to barter - understanding and activating the concept of quid pro quo in the corporate as well as the non-profit dance sectors -- these are important techniques and strategies in the realm of international touring. In building our China program, we demonstrated to our local hosts at the Beijing LDTX Dance Company that we were willing and able to reciprocate, in recognition of their generous support. Likewise, when bargaining with our hotel sponsor, we made ourselves available to perform for guests and important clients at a corporate cocktail party.
From the moment we landed in Beijing, it's been a jolt into the future: arriving at the newly opened airport: huge, magnificent; checking into the JW Marriott, our hospitality sponsor: sparkling new, palatial yet gracious; meeting Sarabeth Berman and Willy Tsao of the Beijing LDTX Dance Company, our hosts for the First Beijing International Dance Festival: warm, welcoming, and impeccably organized. Over the past 4 days, we've taught two master classes, given a performance on the terrace at the hotel, attended the opening night performance of the Festival presented by the stunning Hong Kong City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC), indulged in great food while spending time comparing notes with our Chinese colleagues, and tonight is the big night: OUR PERFORMANCE AT THE FESTIVAL! Nerves are running high.
Last night's performance at the Tian Qiao Theater was the grand finale of our Asia Tour, and the dancers and Barry held nothing in reserve. Over 1,000 people came out to see what the American dance company was all about, and judging from the ultra sophisticated and very complimentary comments we heard in the audience talk-back session at the end of the performance, they liked what they saw! Viewers told us that they appreciated the musicality of the program, paying special attention to the fact that three out of the four musical scores were composed for us and that the dance and music meshed in a way that "isn't usually seen in China". Two speakers talked about Shell Games and gave their interpretations -- showing that they had excavated deeply into the piece and had mined very rich meaning from it. We were glowing with excitement to be so thoroughly rewarded, especially since it was clear that this was an audience of cognoscenti.
Sarabeth Berman, a young American dancer who has taken up residence as Festival Manager for the Beijing LDTX Dance Company, was a complete delight. Though she was stepping out for the first time in her very responsible role, she carried it off with grace and expertise. Willy Tsao, the Johnny Appleseed of modern dance in China (he has established no less than 3 dance companies - in Hong Kong, Guongzhou and Beijing) is a charming and open-minded artist. He made us feel so comfortable and welcome in his home territory. We were very disappointed not to be able to see the Beijing LDTX Company in action -- but hope that we can help them find performance opportunities in New York before long!