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Chun Zhang | Kai Strathmann YIBU DANCE


Dancer, choreographer Chun Zhang (1988, Shanghai, China) met Kai Strathmann in 2015, during their master of choreography study, in the Folkwang University of Arts, Essen, Germany. In 2019, both of their productions with the Folkwang Dance Studio got nominated by the renowned Kurt Jooss Prize. Chun won the jury prize with her piece 'Being Far Away From' at the end, being the first mainland Chinese who won this prize. Same year, they founded YIBU DANCE. 'Yibu, Yibu' means 'step by step' in Chinese, representing the ethics and aesthetics of the ensemble. They produce visual, consequent, ambient works that explore the essence of human existence through fundamental movements, light and sound, which have been shown, invited and resided in Lehbmruck Museum, Fabrik Heeder, TanzFaktur, International Tanzmesse Düsseldorf, Festival Tanz NRW, Tanztausch Festival, First and Further Steps Festival, Move Festival, Campania Teatro Festival (IT), SILK Kliscope (AT), Yokohama Dance Collective (JP), among other theaters in Germany, funded by NRW Landesbüro Tanz, NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste, Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen Referat Presse und Kommunikation, Dachverband Tanz, Fonds Darstellende Künste, City Essen, Krefeld, Arnsberg, Velbert, Cologne. They collaborate with other freelance artists from diverse disciplines and engage in artistic research, workshops and dance films.

Artistic Statement from Chun Zhang

Time begins when attention begins. Time changes when attention changes. Attention unlocks things that cannot be bought or sold. It just enriches life. My works offer a different way of observing time or “movement”. Dancing is a space-time art. It consists of countless fleeting moments. "The Illusory Craft" is fascinating, but it cannot be preserved. This has always been dance's theoretical, dissemination and innovation shortage, although Laban notation and video are trying to salvage the situation. But dance is still present, how it perfectly balances past, present and future is my central thinking. The external over-expression - the horizontal expansion in space (which I often see in modern dance production, not only in the body language, the topic, but also in the stage technology) is not the solution for me, because the time in a dance performance loses even more power like this. To change that, I propose a deep time - endless exploration in vertical depth.

The most common feedback I hear about my work is: moving visual art. That doesn't mean that I bring visual art elements to the stage. But what inspires me is the quality of a single moment becoming a transition, to a different status, to a different world. I'm looking for a way of composing movement so that looking at movement can have a similar experience to looking at photography and painting.

Working with very basic elements in movement, such as direction, speed, drive and phrasing, and usually very basic movement motifs, I play with the illusion of time to uncover some hidden agenda of expressions, experiences and values, from very simple and reduced materials. My great talent is to create such diversity and richness in the reduction that it develops a very strong depth and emotion.

Time is a political medium in my choreographic world. By manipulating the consciousness of time, I set values ​​and experiences other than daily linear timekeeping, where only faster, further, bigger might be the ultimate goal, big moves and big twists and turns are the main component of value. Instead, change is movement itself, and multiple tempos can coexist in one space. The theater space is my ultimate utopia, that a global now and collective oneness is possible.

Moving Knowledge

Chun Zhang

Ballet (since 1998)

Chinese Dance Performance and pedagogy (since 1998)

Chinese Folklore (since 1998)

Chi Gong and Tai Chi (since 1998)

Contemporary dance (since 2003)

Choreography (since 2003, master)

Chinese Opera (since 2004)

Artistic research and analysis (since 2008, master)

Jooss Leeder Technique (since 2015)

Pilates Mat (Since 2015)

Laban Bartenieff Movement Study (since 2017)

Somatic work and dance-movement dramaturgy (on going research)

Kai Strathmann

Popping, LA Style (since 2003)

Ballet (since 2010)

Jooss Leeder Technique (since 2011)

Lemon Technique (since 2011)

Folklore (since 2011)

Laban Bartenieff Movement Study (since 2017)

Electronic music and visual composition (on going research)

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