Although performance art has been around for decades, it is still not considered mainstream.
But Chaim Gebber, a German-based Brazilian modern dancer and choreographer, is trying to do something about that in Shanghai.
Although he only arrived here in April this year, Gebber has created a new solo dance inspired by the city and its people.
Having already performed at Creek Art in September, this weekend Gebber will present two solo shows at 1918 Art Space.
Modern dance, without a storyline, is usually hard for people to understand, but Gebber says his dance is based on daily life.
He says he is amazed and inspired by the overwhelming crowd in the subway station in People's Square at 8am every day. His dance routine is also based on the "weird" behavior of Chinese from his perspective. "The dance is an exaggeration of daily life," says Gebber.
A choreographer, dancer and instructor, Gebber worked for 13 years with various companies in Brazil before moving to Germany in 2001.
As for his transition from ballet to modern dance, Gebber says it was not because he wanted to quit ballet, but rather a "natural evolution."
From his perspective, ballet is a special skill which only special people can do due to the specific, difficult moves involved.
Gebber's idea in his new dance is to present the daily life of ordinary people, say, white collars, who don't really "move" much in their everyday work.
He minimizes the level of movement and even stops moving when he plays a clerk working at a computer monitor, or, immobilized in the crowd in the subway at rush hour.
Here in Shanghai he works for Jin Xing Dance Theater but the cultural shock in his daily life is still a great challenge. When asked why he came to China, Gebber says that's the way he lives. "You should be brave enough to try new things," he laughs.
Date: November 15-16, 8pm
Address: 78 Changping Rd
(Shanghai Daily November 14, 2008)