Interview with a Choreographer – Liu Qi from Guangdong Modern Dance Company

By Jordan Howard – Marketing Intern

Guangdong Province is a bridge to inland China, a gateway through which the world saw China “open up” during economic reforms and one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. It’s also a thriving hub of modern-dance movement, education and opportunity, led by the 1992 inception of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company as China’s first modern-dance ensemble. We had an opportunity to interview the choreographer of GMDC’s performance: Liu Qi.

Introduce yourself and your background in your field:

In 1991, I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from the Chinese Ethnic Dance Department, Beijing Dance Academy. Upon graduation, I took up a teaching post in the Chinese Ethnic Dance Department, Beijing Dance Academy and worked as a lecturer later. I joined the Guangdong Modern Dance Company in 1996 and have been working 23 years sequentially as dancer, teacher and head of the Arts Department, Deputy Artistic Director, residency choreographer, and the Artistic Director. I have created many works for the GMDC and have toured to over 20 countries.

What is the inspiration behind this piece?

This piece was inspired by the Chinese traditional calligraphy and traditional landscape painting.

 Do you prefer to create works that are more thematic or abstract?

Personally, I prefer to create a work with a specific theme but in the abstract way.

 Which would you consider this piece to be?

To present the audiences the spiritual connotation and the means of expression of the Chinese calligraphy and landscape painting in terms of the visible body languages and the visual of the stage. It’s still within the scope of stage arts.

Do you have any favorite dance performances you have seen as an audience member?

Of course. Some examples are Jiri Kylian’s works at Nederlands Dans Theater, Rosas, and Ohad Naharin’s works by Batsheva Dance Company.

What is your favorite style of dance to teach?

Body exploitation, technique and improvisation.

What is your favorite style of dance to perform?

Honestly, it keeps changing as I get older.

What was the most challenging part of putting this piece together?

With the inspiration from the Chinese traditional calligraphy and traditional landscape paintings, I felt an urge to lead the dancers to complete this piece in terms of the GAMES. You can also consider it is not a complete state. And of course it’s full of changing.

What was the most rewarding part of putting it together?

To be refined internally and externally.

Are there any shocks or surprises in the show?

You will find the commonality of Chinese calligraphy, painting, Chinese kung fu and contemporary dance.

Have different cultures responded to the show in different ways?

For sure, different cultures have their own uniqueness. It is becoming more widely accepted and appreciated in today’s age of global integration.

Guangdong Modern Dance Company’s will be performing at Loeb Playhouse on Sunday, February 8 at 8PM.