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Essential elements (3)

(China Daily)

10:27, August 10, 2012

"I appreciate his resilient spirit as a Tibetan dancer. He is pioneering and really found his role, the reasons and significance of his work and that's truly amazing for independent dancers in China now," says Tanzhou Dorje, a 56-year-old folk dance professor at the university for 30 years, who taught Wanma Jiancuo and considered him one of his best students.

In 2003, Wanma Jiancuo founded his dance studio, Beijing City Shepherd Studio, together with four like-minded friends. Like many independent artists, besides choreographing dances for the studio, they also made shows for companies and governmental events to make ends meet.

In 2011, Wanma Jiancuo stayed in Yunnan province for several months to create a dance show for a tourism company.

"Those dances require interaction with the audiences. Dancers would step off stage and communicate with audiences through their dancing. However, what I want in my own work is not like that," he says.

"Dancers and audiences are equal. I don't want the dancers to serve the audiences. I want something abstract, leaving a space for the audiences to think and imagine."

As a veteran dancer and choreographer, he has another crucial mission - cultivating young Tibetan dancers, who will carry on his ideas.

Laba Zaxi, a 21-year-old Tibetan dancer, won a gold award at Seoul International Dance Competition 2012 for his performance in Silent Marnyi Stone, a dance work choreographed by Wanma Jiancuo.

"He can barely speak Mandarin but when he dances, you can feel what he wants to say," Wanma Jiancuo says. "I am glad that the young Tibetan generation is passionate about its culture. Though urbanization and globalization influence them and they wear hip-hop clothes and dye their hair, they still reserve a respectful place in their hearts for Tibetan culture."

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