Interview with a Dancer – Guangdong Modern Dance Company’s Li Siyu

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 one of the dancer’s from the performance – Li Siyu.

Introduce yourself and your background in your field:

My name is LI Siyu. I am a dancer for the Guangdong Modern Dance Company. I joined the company in 2018 following graduation. 

What is your role in this performance?

There are no specific roles in this performance. We are using our bodies to present the qualities and the feelings of drawing in the Chinese calligraphy and express the special charm of it. This gives the audiences the special prospects of the Chinese culture. 

What is your favorite style of dance to perform?

I like a lot of styles! contemporary dance, Chinese classic dance and folk dance, and modern. 

Which portion of the show do you relate to the most? Which part was the biggest stretch for you as an artist?

Beyond Calligraphy consists of 2 episodes, Upon Calligraphy and Ink Wash Landscape.

In Upon Calligraphy, there is a part named XIAO ZHUANG (the seal style of calligraphy), that really needs the high focus. I really need to feel the movement very slightly. Three dancers need to coordinate with each other to complete every single drawing.

I really like the episode 2, Ink Wash Landscape,which brings me a calm and slow inner world. 

Is this piece thematic or abstract?

The calligraphy is very thematic. However, this piece describes the charm and form of Chinese calligraphy instead of presenting a specific word or a calligraphy work. 

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

I like May B, Compagnie Maguy Marin, and FR. 

Have you ever taught or created your own piece?

We have opportunity to create our own work every year in GMDC. I created a duet named Good Night with another dancer Zhang Long. This is my first choreography in the company.

Where is your favorite place to perform

Our company’s (GMDC_ small theater. It is very intimate and relieved.

Do you prefer to dance to classical music or music with words?

I prefer the pure music without lyrics.

What is your favorite part about being in Guangdong Modern Dance Company?

We are dancing and gathering in the city of Guangzhou from all parts of China. We are living in the same building of the company’s apartment. All the dancers are very close to each other like a big family; it’s a warm and friendly place.

What is something people do not know about GMDC?

We are the young generation, born in 1990s, working in the first Modern Dance Company in China. We are full of fresh energy and spirit.

Catch Li and other dancers in Guangdong Modern Dance Company’s show! Join us at Loeb Playhouse on Sunday, February 8 at 8PM.