Monday, 25 July 2011

Over and out...not quite

Well my job here is done. We performed the show on Saturday. If i'm honest it was a bit ropey i'm afraid to say. The connection we had built up as dancers sharing the space was lost as soon as it was lights, camera, action. We had had a pretty good group dynamic over the two weeks. And on thursday i felt that we had finally found the connection while dancing that i was looking for. This to me was more important the spending time correcting what level the arm was supposed to be at when doing a particular move etc...The adrenalin, the heat and technical and human faults put the show out of balance towards the end. Another week rehearsing might have helped to eradicate the mistakes that were being repeated in the dance despite my efforts to tackle them. Also, teching and plotting a show in the daytime which is going to be performed at night in an open air space doesn't help. But, we were limited by time and money. A common story. Alex's tardiness stayed true to form as he arrived 2 hours late without any kind of explanation or apology. It must be a cultural thing i suppose. I realised during the end of the first week that Alex is a great freestyle dancer...very funky and good movement quality. As soon as you start to put restrictions on his dancing it just doesn't work. I must admit he tried very hard over the 2 weeks but his inability to adapt in this manner contributed somewhat to the ropiness. Again, a bit more time may have helped me iron this crease out a little better. In the end, Tomaz's music was quite complimentary. If we get to work together again then we have to spend more time in the studio together. Collaborating through rehearsal video and discussion is only ok up to a point imo. The space was VERY cool to perfrom in. Uma & Alex both danced very hard and performed well. I think there were factors out of my control and things i could have done better. Overall, It's been a tremendous experience working with these guys and creating a 30 min piece in 2 weeks in a foreign language. The general response was good. People enjoyed it and felt that it was different...which is kind of what i was going for.

Last day at the Caster Studio

(finally) arriving at the 800 Art Space

Tech team & Tomaz

Resourceful efforts at covering the window area for the evening's projection

Setting up through the day

Sunday was spent in a lateral recumbency for the duration of the day. I drifted in and out of sleep for most of the day, grateful for a decent wifi connection and the Letmewatchthis website :) So now i have a few days to kill i may well take up shanghai's most popular pass Time to put my bartering skills to the test once more. I will also try to get in a practice session with some bboys...something i haven't had the time or energy to do while working. If anything interesting happens i'll post it up. But for now R2M has been well and truly Shanghaied. I leave you with this very worthwhile piece of advice which greets you upon entering my hotel...

This is my drug...the universal language of Coffee & Croissants

xie xie!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Not enough xiǎoshí's in the day!

Man i'm telling you it's pointless having a plan in this environment cause it rarely happens that you are able to stick to it. What should only take 30 mins takes 4 times as long and then of course everything else is behind where you want it to be. Chance favours the prepared as they say so i should be more on top of the situation. But try as you might sometimes things get out of your control. Much like relationships...but i digress. I am hoping that we will have finished the piece by the end of tomorrow. In theory, it should be possible. There are many aspects that need polishing and parts that need to be drilled. If i can manage to finish i'll have a couple of days for cleaning & tightening it up. I'm not so worried about the dance, but the music is another story. Tomaz has been a busy chap with the organising and promoting of the performance, but also part of the deal was that he would make a bit of a sound design. I got the first taste of this on tuesday because . It's cool but I hope he'll be accommodating if the soundscape is not lending the right feel to what is going on in the space. I had another chinese lesson today. I invited my teacher along to the performance (which is free by the way). With Tomaz's film and the show it's going to be about 36 mins. She was like "30mins! is that all. I don't know if i'll come all that way just for 30 mins" For two weeks work in a foreign language that's not bad love! These Chinese...they're just so demanding...

Alex...droppin' some knowledge on Kiki

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Short & Sweet

I'll keep it brief as it's late  and defo time for here are todays clips from our rehearsals. Things are starting to take shape.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Crunch time

Day 1 of week 2. I spent the beginning of the morning warming up on my own and wondering where my dancers were at. They both rocked up about 45mins late with zero explanation.  Once we were all settled i asked them if turning up at the required time was going to be a problem? Apparently it won't be...we shall see. We have had a pretty good group dynamic going so i don't ant to ruin it by flipping my lid. A few deep breathes later and we are back in the swing of it. I had to spend all the morning session going over old material, but made up some time in the afternoon. I think we will be working like trojans this week. But, i have a plan scribbled down on paper somewhere so we should be "fine". Check out some of today's efforts below. The evening was spent writing out what i said in a short interview Tomaz did with me. I can certainly ramble on at times. The documentary will be online here at the end of the project so you can hear my waffling for yourself. I'll stop now.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Stairway to Heaven

It's sunday evening and i have spent most of this weekend thinking about how next week will play out...and finding a space in which we are going to perform. you remember the pretty picture of the arts space Tomaz had originally located for our performance. It turns out that there will be an exhibition opening in that very same space on that very same day we are due to perform. A rather large, but artistic, spanner in the works. I have to give him credit as Tomaz has been pulling out all the stops and pulling in a few favours to find a new venue. I could see this was becoming a bit of a stressful situation for him as we visited different spaces that weren't quite right in my opinion...or were just too dirty.

The road leading up the M50 gallery complex
 complete with Wall of be demolished in near the near future

We visited a 2nd gallery space owned by the same person who runs the original space we had looked at. It was a nice space and clean but simply to small to work in. No go! Our next option was an disused space owned by another friend of Tomaz's (pics below). Quite a funky space but super dirty with a slightly pot-holy floor. I could imagine the dancers being a bit! We put that one on the back burner.

What seemed to be the final option were a couple of spaces housed within the Wu Jiao Chang 800 Art Space in the north-east of the city. We had some reservations about taking the performance quite far out of the central part of town. Shanghai is big. Getting to this space takes a little more effort for a potential audience member. However, this is just the first phase of our collaboration so it's important that we get a good performance together in a space thats going to work and feel comfortable. So...the first place we looked at (through a crack in the door, so no pics i'm afraid) was quite simply lush. A large, clean, airy and beautifully simple gallery space. Tomaz had shown me pictures of a performance in this setting. You could easily see how a performance space like that can add to a show. I for one would have been more than happy to perform there but again securing the space was proving difficult.

outside at the 800 Art Space

A 2nd option in this complex was to do it outdoors in an area directly above the first space we investigated. This was basically a floor/roof with multiple glass squares. Again very dope but just a bit too lumpy and bumpy for the work we are doing. It would be a shame to have to put dance floor over the glass tiles as that is really the main feature and why you want to perform there in the first place. I tutted a few times and we moved on.

The last choice in this complex was another unused and quite large soon-to-be gallery area. This was cool...and it had pillars, which had been etched into my mind during the creative process after thinking we would perform at the original spot in M50. I was still pining for the first space we saw but i could see Tomaz was keen to use this area. I was starting to come round as i began to see the potential of showing here. It was dirty and i made a deal with Tomaz that we would pay somebody to come here and clean it properly if we were going to use it. He agreed and so we are now sorted for a performance spot. I wonder if we will need air-con as well....hmmm

Tomaz...a pillar of the community.

I had had a little break session at a club on Sat night with Alex. A place in the french concession area called Dada. The floor was dirty (which is today's theme), the club was dark but the music was good and there were some bboys in the house. It made me think of the days when my crew would break at joints like the venue for Scratch...niiiice. The circle came to an end when i hit an incredibly funky beat...and some dudes beer bottle which then smashed on the floor. That was my exit. So after breaking on sat and then pounding the streets with Tomaz on sun i figured i would sample something which the locals do very well here. It was time for some massage. Now i'm sure there are many happy endings going on but i was looking for the rough stuff. I had been told by Uma to visit the massage houses on Donghu Road. When i got there i just opted for the first one i came across. I climbed the stairs to the dragon fly massage house and asked them if they could hurt me. They obliged nicely. At first i was told i would be getting dealt with by a man. No problem. So when i woman entered my room i was thinking, did i miss something here? I was a little dubious that i would get the level of attention i was seeking as she was quite wee...but she packed a punch! She got all the right spots and got knee deep with some elbow action. Brilliant. I got some free slippers to boot. As my childhood hero once said...i'll be back.

There could be some slight embellishment going on here...

Don't be misled by their smiles...they'll hurt you then take your money
...but strangely you'll fell better for it.

Friday, 15 July 2011

1 down 1 to go

So this is the end of week one. I've taught a chunk of material, done plenty improv exercises, contact and got some rough set pieces together. I hope some of this info will be retained (by myself also) so next week goes fairly smoothly. We have a name finally! Zhège Nàgè which basically means This & That. I think it's a good summation of what has been very much a mixture of sorts within this project. There's a little more video up. Once again this is a rough sketch of a duet between Alex & Uma. After work was finished, Tomaz invited us round to his gaff for some authentic chinese cuisine. Standout dishes where the 1000 year old egg and something that was super spicy. At least i had a night off from eating the street bbq. The dinner came complete with an uber cute chinese kid whose chinese was waaaay better than mine and 5 household cats that were getting high on some cat weed...needless to say they were catatonic...oh yeah!

The bomb with a cigarette

Home of the Caster the thick of it in Shanghai city!

Me & The Bomb...with the same cigarette

Let's get blown...and then lick ourselves all over

Dinner wiht cute kid...and yes another cigarette

Thursday, 14 July 2011 i missed a day on the blogging. Gutted! There goes my aim to do some reportage each day. Last night i was simply too wrecked to put fingers to keyboard. It was a long day in the studio with just Alex and myself followed by some book hunting, chinese lesson and some street bbq to chow down on. But...i'll hopefully make up for the lack with today's blog as i finally have some video to go up. I'm still editing the clips Tomaz gave me but i do have some footage taken with my camera so excuse the quality. Some very rough sketches here. I think i'm going to have to work very fast next week as Uma will have another day off doing her business studies and i would like to be in a position where we can be running the work for most of the day on Friday. Wishful thinking perhaps but we shall see. I must resist the urge to make new material. i think i'll have to write that on my hand each morning.

Still have to come up with a name? "dance to takeaway" perhaps...Another sweaty day in the studio was had today. So much so that i had to go and buy another T-Shirt to wear after lunch. I took Alex with me to help me negotiate a price. That might not have been such a good idea because in the first shop we went to an argument quickly ensued between him and the vendor about price and we were basically told to leave. Even with my limited language knowledge the message was quite clear. Eventually a deal was brokered in another shop and i got my Tee. I should have really tried it on cos it was way too tight. Fashion faux pas aside we did some good stuff i reckon. I'm really trying to drill them in the movement style so that next week when there's a little more planning going on, they will retain that sense of what the movement felt like and not drift into something new when we come to do it. After improvising with some contact work for a while we tried setting a few moves. You always lose a little something in the process of cementing a sequence. And it's double hard with a language barrier. I could see that tension was beginning to rise but we were close to finishing so it didn't have a chance to burst. However, i'm going to have to find a way to navigate around this as we will be getting more concrete next week so there could be rubble ahead...ahem.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Short but...

Very sorry but this will be a short one. My plan was to get some video finally uploaded this eve but it's just taking too long. Plus i still have a basin full of clothes to hand wash so i better deal with that before bed. The work continues to progress. I often try to cram too much movement into what i create. Sometimes there's no need. I will spend the rest of this week generating material and then try and force my self to stop. The 2nd week i'll deal with structure i suppose. I did get some compliments today from the dancers. One of which was, "Ah...yes, this is very comfortable". Xie Xie! I aim to please after all.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Let's Dance

I have to come up with a name for this show. I haven't a scooby. I'm more concerned with actually making it but marketing and shows generally go hand in hand so...any suggestions? We had the full team in the house today with Tomaz on the camera and Uma, Alex and myself on the floor. I wanted to introduce them gradually to my style and today was all about trying things out and getting a bit of a group dynamic happening. We finished the morning session with a small improv and i have to say it actually felt like it was going ok. I had no idea how we were all going to get along, how enthusiastic everyone would be but it felt good. We got shifted into a smaller studio after lunch by the staff. I'm getting a sneaky suspicion that the caster family feel that what we're doing is not quite projecting the right image for the studio. All the studios have glass windows which allow you to be seen from the reception and it's a super commercial outfit. I think they probably didn't quite know what to expect when we made this booking...too late now guys :)

The afternoon session we spent doing some contact and lifting work. And again i was very impressed with how quickly they got into the groove and their commitment to it also. Tomaz has it all on film so i should now be able to get some up on line in the near future. Uma had to split early for another rehearsal. Good luck i thought cos we had worked pretty hard. Alex and i carried on for a short while before wrapping up. I got some grub on, then headed out for my first Chinese lesson. I figured it would be a good idea to learn how to say some of the ideas i wish to describe to the dancers...and also to be able to order a few dumplings. On saturday i had met a young lady who teaches the lingo and she offered to tutor me at a reasonable price. I got to grips with the 4 intonations of the language. People who know me will agree with me when i say i'm great at accents ;) it wasn't long until my pronunciation had improved quite dramatically. We touched on a bit of grammar and also with some of the statements i wished to use for work. I initially used Google Translate and it's not bad...for one word translations. Using the results for longer sentences could get you in a world of hurt. My advice: use real people.

Julia, a real live translator

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Haggler The Terrible

Y'know sometimes i'm good at getting a bargain and sometimes i'm not. I guess like most things it is subject to the law of averages. Win some lose some. I was meant to go and check the Dance Delight competition today in the Expo area of shanghai. This is a routine based competition (to the best of my knowledge) featuring all styles and would have been a good glimpse of what's going down in Shanghai. Competition starts at 1pm...i woke up at 1245pm. Ok i'll sleep a little longer and then head along to catch the 2nd half. Competition ends at 4pm...i woke up again at 345pm...oh well. Tonight there is an after party in the same spot but i'm going to behave as the serious work begins tomorrow. Not that last week wasn't serious but i'll be working with the full team as Uma plans to join us for this project...if she is not put off by my dance technique and poor grasp of Chinese. This could very well happen. People seem to be very busy at the moment and i've always felt this project was going to be a fluid one, so be like water Tony, be like water.

I thought i better be at least a little productive so i headed into town to the electronics hyper-market area of Xu Jia Hui. You can pick up just about anything here that relies on 1s and 0s to get by. I was in need of a memory disc for my camera and a firewire cable for the vidcamera. The SD card was easily found but the cable required a bit more perseverance. You can't browse in peace in this place so you have to be prepared to be hustled and hustle in return. My dad is a pretty good haggler and on a good day i'm not bad either. There's always a certain sense of satisfaction when you score yourself a bargain in whatever respect. I've seen some sales people act like you've stolen from them when you finally get the price down. Of course there's always the chance that it's all part of a well rehearsed routine to make the customer feel better and possibly come back in the future...and if you don't speak the lingo, well you can be practically nonethewiser. Anyhow, after drawing a few diagrams of what i needed the rather enthusiastic fellow who was serving me, he seemed to visit all the counters on the floor before returning with what i needed. He gave me a price, i laughed. i gave him a price, he rolled his eyeballs. This continued for about 2 mins until i got what i wanted (at least i think so anyway....) and i parted with the cash. Happy with my purchase and with the thought i will now be able to add some video to these blogs i came home, connected my camera, fired up imovie doesn't work!!! Now this is either some kind of compatibility issue, as i've not used this camera with my comp before, or it's a dodgy cable. And i can't help feeling it's the latter.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Saturday night fever

Today kicked off with a trip to a presentation by a UK Theatre company at a British Council Connections Through Culture event. I can't remember for the life of me what the name of the company was but they will be appearing with 2 very large and red cargo crates at the Edinburgh Festival with an interactive and (almost) hypothetical environmental semi-disaster scenario (actually i've just remembered - I have to admit to being more concerned about the fact i had had no breakfast and, even worse, no coffee. But there was an interesting moment where one of the pair giving the presentation described why the work was artistic and not educational when the point was raised by someone in the audience. It's beginnings, process and end result, which is an entirely personal one, were given as reasons why this wasn't an educational project. I just thought it was cool how they had made something that was purely artistic but also did or had the potential to reach beyond it's initial expectations. A sign of a good piece of work i think. The coffee issue just wouldn't lie dormant so when we broke for a short interval myself and some like minded individuals took this opportunity to chat briefly, exchange some business cards, say goodbye and go off in search of some java.

cosy CTC presentation

On the hunt for some coffee with some of Shanghai's movers and shakers on the independent arts scene. That's Tomaz opposite me, dancers Uma, Jiang Fan and Xiao Ke and then an actor/director dude i actually met last year but again fail to remember the name of...i'm bad.

The girls were keen to learn some "Hip Hop" so i give a brief class. Hip Hop 101 - poses

After feeling suitably re-caffienated we went our separate ways and i decided it was time to do some laundry. Apparently if you machine wash here it means your a wealthy man/woman/person. I had a few RMB to spare so what the hell i thought. I looked up a laundrette service, headed back into town, realised i had left the address at the hotel, looked around in the area where i thought it was, didn't find it, went home and hand washed some under wear...guess i'm not wealthy after all. With the plunging and scrubbing done it was time to head out to a house party i had gotten wind of from Ben. We met up at the apartment of a canadian stuntman and an australian graf artist/professional pick up artist...yes these dudes like from the film Hitch actually exist. I sat in on a conversation between him and fellow professional PUA where they were exchanging anecdotes on how the respective students were doing. I got no tips by the way. The stuntman also runs Shanghai's only parkour school. I will try and get a glimpse of that carry on at some point. With some dancers in the place it was only a matter of time and in due course Ben managed to instigate a salsa circle...which then became a sort of house-popping hybrid circle and finally a gymnastic face off. Nice guys, nice evening and as the party began to wind down my belly began to rumble. Apparently there was more party action to be had but i passed up on that for some authentic Shanghai street cuisine. Tasty & cheap but just don't ask where it came from.

The stuntman, Ben, Alex and Mr DJ

Tuck in and hope for the best...

Friday, 8 July 2011

Drop the Bomb

Today i was joined in the studio by Alex Bomb. I thought it would be a good idea to see how he took to some of my movement ideas and a little weight sharing. The response was good and i don't think he minds how Tony Thrills gets down. This was towards the end of the day and slowly but surely our studio began to fill up with old and new acquaintances. First was Hilda a freestyle dancer & teacher and friend of Alex. She had initially been recommended to me by Bboy Zee (see previous posts) as someone who might be suitable for the project. However, the deal with dancers/teachers affiliated with Caster Studio is that they are unable to take on work for other companies. We tried to negotiate but it seems the politics of the whole affair was proving too much trouble. On top of this, Jiang Fan, the dancer we had met earlier in the week, had gotten back in touch to say her schedule would not allow her to be involved with the project. A shame but i suspected this might be the case. I was keen to do the work as a trio, which would be new ground for me, but will also aim to produce the goods as a duet if that is how it plays out. There are still a few more avenues to investigate however. Hilda was followed by Tomaz with the final instalment being Benjamin. I met Ben during my first trip to Shanghai during our late night street session where the music was provided by the custom boom box attached to his moped. A creative dude constantly on the hustle, Ben has some good stories about his time as asia's biggest goa trance DJ and Korean bboy battles in chinese karaoke bars. I thought now would have been a good kodak moment with this troupe in the studio and then i realised that my mind clearly wasn't on the job any more and since we had done a decent days work i decided to wrap it up. 

Once i returned back to my gaff i had some admin to do. With the time difference i am just finishing my day while folk back home are just beginning. The lack of a scanner or fax machine that would send documents outside of China slowed me down somewhat. I then got a call from Ben to meet for some grub. One large bowlful of beef & noodles and im back at the hotel, passed out on my bed. I get woken up by the phone in my room..."Ni Hao! would you like hotel room massage sir?"...hmmm...tempting, but no thanks. Back to sleep.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


38 Degrees today...wowza! and today i think was the first day i could see the sky as it was neither obscured due to smog or heavy humidity. I finally got a decent night's kip last much so i found it hard to pull myself out of bed. Things are getting back to normal then. As a result of some good rest i had a productive 2nd day in the studio and slowly but steadily the ideas are coming. I realised i'd gone 4hrs without even a toilet break (that's because i sweat it all out i'm sure). I did, however, have my flow interrupted by two hapless young ladies who decided they wanted to practice their Waacking/Whackin' etc... technique before doing class. I was a bit bemused but thought they might get the hint when i stopped what i was doing and gave them the sternest Tony Thrills look as i possibly could...which is pretty stern i'm telling you. My body language was falling on deaf ears and just as i was about to eject them in a friendly foreigner manner, the receptionist came and ushered them out. Between me and you they weren't very good anyway otherwise i might have let them stay. If you haven't got a clue what i'm talking about with regards to their chosen dance style then you could do much worse than check out the documentary Paris Is Burning, which looks at an area of 80s new york club culture where styles like voguing, waackin' & punkin' where born.

My current hood...

So after i wrapped it up at Caster i made it back to my gaff and felt a sudden urge to hit the hay. My dad says don't fight sleep so who am i to ignore the wisdom of such a learned man. Upon awakening i felt a second urge and that was to eat. Good to know that life in the 21st century hasn't dulled our primal instincts. Whilst in hunter gatherer mode i came across a friendly face (see below). You gotta give it to them, Tesco is certainly leading the charge in the stakes of global supermarket domination. I decided to investigate. If you thought your local tesco metro got jammed in the post work food frenzy then try navigating yourself safely round downtown Shanghai's version. You have to be swift on your feet to avoid colliding with a trolley below the belt...and even swifter to pick up a bargain in the reduced section. There was some kind of argument over boiled eggs and live eels and fish up for grabs. The one fish floating upside-down didn't look too happy but i though it was good to see Tesco embracing the local culture regardless. All in all quite an exciting outing for a thursday evening.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Nitty gritty

Today i finally started to dust off some cobwebs, lubricate the joints and work off some those Willie Johns Stornoway beef burgers and blackpudding that i stocked up on, courtesy of the folks, prior to departing the UK. It's a pretty safe bet that my endocrine system will get a good rinsing out also as working up a sweat in this current heat, even in an air-conditioned studio, is no problem at all. So day 1 at Caster Dance studios involved getting the movement ideas i have in my head out into reality. I hope to do a chunk before i start working with the dancers. I do have a vague theme but i'm mostly keen to have the piece movement faffing about, let's just get down and dance. We'll see how that plan works out.

The Caster studio is one of 3 main studios (the other's being Dragon Studio & Dance Space) teaching hip hop, funkstyles & breakin' in Shanghai. Hip hop dance in china ( Shanghai & Beijing at least) leads quite a successfully commercial life. This is actually the norm and has been for a while now in other South East Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan. Dance teachers in these studios like Caster are on contract and are almost at pop star status. Yes, a very different scene than back in good old blighty. But then again, in this financial city with a population almost at the brink of 23 million, you're bound to find one or two punters who wanna learn how to get down. FYI - Tomaz & George are producing a documentary on the scene in Shanghai, which will be able to give you a much better portrait than i can...i'll keep you posted.

Caster Studios ( & facebook

And news from back in the UK is that Room 2 Manoeuvre has made it onto the selection group for the Sadler's Wells Global Dance Contest 2011. Go check it out and show some love.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Art attack!

My body clock is definitely playing at silly b-----s! Was awake the whole night but luckily didn't have to do anything until 2pm. Today's mission was to inspect a potential performance space where the results of these 3 weeks will be shown. Tomaz has a friend who runs an art space in the M50 district in Shanghai ( It is a smaller version of the huge 798 District in Beijing both of which are dedicated to the creation, exhibiting, buying and selling of art in it's various guises. Needles to say it's reasonably cool and there's a cafe making decent coffee next door so double word count score there! The space will require a little bit of tarting up and possibly a floor laid down, but this is one piece of the puzzle now  accounted for.

The proposed performance space at M50 

I decided to have a bit of a wander around the district and see what Shanghai's artists are producing. The highlights had to be the art deco warehouse with some incredibly groovy furniture and this chair of...doom perhaps?

I was most taken with the Omen exhibition by the Lui Dao Art Collective (island6 website). There were some really interesting uses of LED technology combined with some classic styles. Cameras were like forbidden city...but i managed to grab a shot of this....tres chic!

Monday, 4 July 2011

First foray

Well i guess this is kinda day 1. Very late start most likely due to jet lag creeping in but also knowing that my first meet with partner in crime Tomaz Chow is at 2pm. I met Tomaz during my first trip to Shanghai as part of  the British Council/Creative Scotland Dance Links China programme in May 2010. He ran an art space in an area of Shanghai and was most interested in collaborating on a project when i first proposed it to him. Spaces come and go quite fast in the rapidly developing cities of China so his art space has now become an office in another area of town. Nevertheless, through a previous contact made in the form of BBoy George Zhi Zhao (or "zee" for short), we have managed to score a great rehearsal space at Caster Dance Studios. If you want to see video and whassup with the Shanghai scene and further afield in China then check out Zee's blog here Following some studio reconnaissance and a quick hit of Costa Coffee (unfortunately it was all that was going around nearby) we headed into town to meet with a potential dancer for the project by the name of Jiang Fan, a dancer & choreographer with the Shanghai Opera and Dance Drama company. It is hoped her schedule will fit with ours.

The day was wrapped up in good style in an outing to socialise with Shanghai's multi-national mix of hip-hop dancers. France, Russia, Vietnam, Korea and Scotland was in the house. Of course there was serious side for my attendance at this soiree and that was to meet up with a dancer i met during my last visit, Alex Bomb (boom!). We had quite a memorable early hour street cypher during my last visit and i always thought he might be suitable for this project. As fate would have it, it turns out he just quit his job and therefore suddenly has some time in his diary. Tertiary employments loss is my gain. There is still a lot to be decided upon and organise but at least the ball is rolling.


Me & the Bomb!

High rise shenanigans...or shanghaigans

Sunday, 3 July 2011


And so it begins! After a technical fault that caused my flight to be delayed by 3 hours, Room 2 Manoeuvre is finally in the house...the Jade house in fact. Today's inflight entertainment has so much choice that i find it hard to get some shut eye on long haul flights. I'm sure some unavoidable flight anxiety has something to do with that also. You may be able to choose a decent selection of art-house to action movies on board but unfortunately the same cannot be said for the quality of snacks on offer. I'm a big lad...and i need to eat so i don't appreciate a timid array of sweet and savoury cheesy puff pretzel packet type grub on the go. What's happened? I remember flying to Chile once and gorging myself on croissants, cheese and and a tasty meat selection. If you want to ease my anxiety then slip me a few croissants and i'll be putty in your hands. The glory days are definitely behind us in this respect.

Anyway...NI HAO people!! It is a teasingly tropical 35 degrees in Shanghai. When coming from Edinburgh, this is quite a shock. Accommodation is decent and theres a mosquito net on the window which i only hope does it's job...nothing worse than the moment you're about to drift of to slumberland and you hear the high pitched whir of a feverishly blood thirsty insect whizz past your ears. The Air-Con is cranked up to the max. But, not to worry, after contributing nicely to my carbon foot print with a 10hr flight i'll try and keep air-con use to a (reasonable) minimum. In an effort to beat the jet lag i'll aim to stay up a few more hours and kill some time by seeing what lurks around in this neighbourhood. Bottled water and stodgy food are the priorities. 

I had no idea that china's digital firewall extends to blogspot also. But where there's a will there's a way so hopefully you should be receiving/reading these updates. I don't think Room 2 Manoeuvre has many followers in China....yet :)

xie xie!!!