Subscribe to free Email Newsletter

  Chinese Way>Life

A sweet, silent pas de deux

2014-06-15 12:33:29

(China Daily) By Chen Yingqun


Below and above: Jiang Keyu and her husband Romuald Abbe express themselves in the way they know best. Photos provided to China Daily

The cultures of China and Africa may seem very different, but Jiang Keyu and Romuald Abbe reckon that in some respects they are very similar.

They point to some of the moves in taichi, which Jiang says can be found in the folk dances of Cameroon, and to the stomping dance routines of some African people, which are very similar to those of some Chinese ethnic groups.

Jiang and her husband Abbe are choreographers and dancers, and just as they see similar threads running through Chinese and African culture, they say that for them dance is a common language that has brought them close together.

The couple took part in cultural events staged as part of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and were back in the capital last month to take part in the Fete de la Francophonie en Chine (festival in China of French-speaking countries), during which, with dozens of others from many countries, they performed.

Jiang graduated from Beijing Dance Academy after studying modern dance choreography 10 years ago when she was 23. She was then offered the chance to help Cameroon build up its National Dance Group and train dancers for it, a project of China's Ministry of Culture.

Cameroon wanted Chinese teachers to reinforce its dance culture, and modern dancing, rather than classic or folk dancing, seemed like the best choice, she says.

"A national dance group needs to be international in terms of its education and training," Jiang says. "Modern dance does not represent any country or culture; it represents modern people."

The chance to go to Africa excited her, she says, and she adapted to her new life quickly. She and a colleague, another Chinese dancer, spent three months scouting talent and then started giving lessons. A couple of months later she met Abbe, and he turned out to be a star student.

We Recommend:

Chinese cultural relics lost overseas

Mulian opera - Chinese 'ghost opera' China's top 10 representative architectures announced
1 2 3