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Choreographer shows new body of thought

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-21 08:02
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The second edition of Women in Motion at West Bund was launched in Shanghai last week with (from left) Cai Jinqing, president of Kering Greater China, French choreographer Regine Chopinot, Chloe Siganos, head of performing arts at Centre Pompidou in Paris, choreographer Wang Mengfan and Chen Anda, executive director of the West Bund Museum. [Photo provided to China Daily]

French choreographer Regine Chopinot addressed Chinese dancers and audiences at Women in Motion, held in Shanghai's West Bund area over the weekend.

The program was launched by the French luxury group Kering at the Festival de Cannes in 2015.Aimed at highlighting women in cinema, it has since expanded to photography, art, design and music.

In 2021, the launch of Women in Motion at West Bund venues further expanded its influence by including choreography and dance for the first time.

This year, the event featured the premiere of dance film Outredanse on April 14, by Chopinot and Chinese choreographer Wen Hui, in which the two artists dance to a live performance by French drummer Vincent Kreyder.

The opening night also saw the presentation of Skirt, an iconic dance piece created by Wen in 1996, with new interpretation by the dancers of the Shanghai Jin Xing Dance Theatre.

A young choreographer, Wang Mengfan, also presented her creation named Narrative Fountain, an intimate solo piece performed by Qian Min.

In the following two days, a series of activities took place at the West Bund Museum, covering dance performances, film, dialogues and workshops.

Chopinot, 71, is the former director of the National Choreographic Center of La Rochelle, an important choreography center in France.

She went on to carry out research on the moving body in relation to the strength of language in the South Pacific region from 2009 to 2018.

Dancers don't have to move their body with music, Chopinot told China Daily in response to a question about the three dance pieces shown the night before, none of which featured any melodic music accompaniment.

Instead, the body moves to its own rhythm, she says.

"Dancers listen with their skin, their emotion, the intricate feeling of their body hair", she says, while explaining the synchronized movements in Skirt, when five dancers performed with no other sound but that of their own breath and the rubbing, sweeping and pulling of the fabric of their costume.

A strong piece about the female existence, filled with frustration, struggles and awakening, Wen's choreography of Skirt has "opened a gate to new ideas", Chopinot says.

Decades later "the live performance of her creation is still inspiring … showing the power of art", Chopinot adds.

Wen was not in Shanghai to participate in the event, but held an online dialogue on Saturday with Chopinot and Chloe Siganos, head of performing arts at Centre Pompidou, Paris, curator of the second edition of Women in Motion at West Bund.

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