Pushing the boundaries of contemporary Chinese dance
By Yu Fengsheng
03:52

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the Beijing Dance Theater. As one of the leading contemporary ballet companies in China, the troupe is known for pushing forward the boundaries of dance.

Choreographer Wang Yuanyuan is the Beijing Dance Theater's founder and director. She launched the company in 2008, along with two friends. 

Wang says it's every choreographer's dream to have their own art space.

"I think every choreographer has a dream to build their own dance company, because we can present our own idea. So that is the first thought for me."

Wang Yuanyuan (L) attends a rehearsal with dancers from the Beijing Dance Theater. /VCG Photo

Wang Yuanyuan (L) attends a rehearsal with dancers from the Beijing Dance Theater. /VCG Photo

But it hasn't been easy for a new company to come so far, the director explains, since most of the time they have to rely on themselves.

"I think all the contemporary dance companies are without any support from government, so we have to think about everything ourselves. We have to find the support, sponsors or anything we have to learn. How to help this contemporary company to develop in this market is the most difficult thing. But I think it is a kind of freedom to build your own idea that is good for us."

However, Wang's efforts have clearly paid off. The company has not only survived; it really thrived, staging 17 full-length original choreographic works and touring more than 30 countries across the globe over the years.

A still photo from the show "Hamlet" by the Beijing Dance Theater. /VCG Photo

A still photo from the show "Hamlet" by the Beijing Dance Theater. /VCG Photo

These original dance pieces include "Haze," which was instrumental in gaining the troupe international attention, as well as a stage adaptation of "Hamlet," inspired by Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's 2006 film "The Banquet."

"Actually we just finished a tour in the U.S. and we received a lot of good review. We performed Hamlet, but at the beginning I thought maybe it is a different kind of Hamlet, which is a Chinese version. That is maybe different from the one (the American audience) usually knows, but we really received a lot of good reviews," said Wang.

For most of her creations, Wang says her inspiration comes from everyday life.

The Beijing Dance Theater was founded by Wang Yuanyuan in 2008. /Photo courtesy of Beijing Dance Theater 

The Beijing Dance Theater was founded by Wang Yuanyuan in 2008. /Photo courtesy of Beijing Dance Theater 

"The ideas come from life. Sometimes from music, novels or literature. As a good choreographer, you have to find something that really touches your heart, something that can be confronted by your inner heart, something true. So I think you have to be sensitive to your life, to feel everything around you in your life," Wang told CGTN.

As for the future, Wang said the troupe will keep on doing what they're doing.

"We've already gone through 10 years, and we've already received invitations for the next two years, and I think that is what we're are going to keep on doing. I will just keep on doing it and just keep doing what I'm doing right now, then maybe we will have a good next 10 years."