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A Scottish shimmy at Shanghai World Expo 2010

Two of Scotland’s leading choreographers, Janis Claxton and Alan Grieg, will be travelling to China in June to represent Scotland at this year’s Shanghai World Expo 2010, culminating in a performance in the city for the First Minister in the first week of July. Running from May until October 2010, the Expo is expected to attract international audiences of over 70 million to see displays from over 200 countries.

The main theme of Expo 2010 is ‘Better City, Better Life’ with exciting initiatives aimed at achieving better living conditions in more sustainable urban environments.  With various sub themes the Expo provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the best of what the UK has to offer in education, arts and culture, sport or climate change and the environment.

Participating countries have created purpose built pavilions which will showcase a range of performances and activities designed to entertain, intrigue and excite. The UK Pavilion, known as the ‘Seed Cathedral’, is based on the Millennium Seed Bank Project, an international conservation project launched by the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2000.

Around the ‘Seed’, Janis Claxton and Alan Grieg will showcase the best of Scottish contemporary choreography.  The performances are part of the Dancelinks China project for Scottish and Chinese choreographers. The presentation of these works at The Expo has  been jointly funded by the Scottish Government, The British Council (Shanghai Expo), British Council Scotland and the Scottish Arts Council.

Alan Grieg, Artistic Director of X Factor Dance Company, will perform a collage of athletic, provocative and entertaining pieces adapted from his solo show Into the Light, first performed at the 2009 Shanghai Dance Festival. 

These solo works intriguingly merge contemporary dance with spoken manifestations of the rich Scottish cultural heritage which represent a lifetime of Greig’s work.

Alan will continue his work in Shanghai in the autumn as guest choreographer in residence with Jin Xing Dance Theatre, supported by Connections through Culture and SAC Dance Links project.

Janis Claxton Dance will perform Human Animal Shanghai. Janis will be joined by 6 Scottish based and 2 Chinese performers in this unique instillation work that draws from the award winning ‘Enclosure 44 – Humans’ presented at the Edinburgh Zoo in 2008.  The dancers will be accompanied by ‘Zoo Keeper’ Clive Andrews to present this comment on human behaviour and the interrelation of humans and animals, inside and around a large Perspex box.

The performance is a follow on from Human Animal Beijing which was presented at 798 Art Zone during the DaDao Live Art Festival in July last year. Human Animal Beijing was a culmination of Janis’ first trip to China on a British Council Connections Through Culture grant which has also led to her working in Beijing directly after the 3 week stint at Shanghai Expo. With support from SAC Dance Links project Janis will work with Beijing Dance LDTX to recreate the lyrical work ‘songs are sung’ (set to Gorecki’s String Quartet #3) on the full company of 13 dancers. Four JCD dancers will accompany her to Beijing and Guangdong Modern Dance Festival where the work will be performed.

Janis and Alan will be joined by a host of other performers and arts organisations from all parts of the UK, including Sherman Cymru Youth Theatre, BBC Symphony Orchestra , Natural Theatre Company, London Symphony Orchestra, Central Saint Martins and  Glasgow-based Mischief la Bas.

The Scottish Expo dance performances are being produced by Catalyst Dance Management in partnership with the Shanghai Expo team and British Council Scotland.

See also
* The UK pavillion
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