Daily DripArt & Design

PHOTOS: Chinese Choreographers Reflect on Women’s Empowerment


“Women in Motion at West Bund,” a three-day contemporary dance festival focused on women empowerment by celebrating women’s creativity, took place in Shanghai from October 22-24.

The festival was hosted by Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project and French luxury brand Kering. It presented performances by Chinese choreographers Duan Ni and Shi Jingxin, artist conversations with French choreographer Mathilde Monnier, and workshops for semi-professionals and amateurs interested in learning contemporary dance.

Women in Motion West Bund

Dancers practicing. Image via West Bund Museum

On its opening night, Duan Ni showcased the dance Publique in collaboration with Monnier and premiered her work The Portrait of the Crowd. 

The pair produced the show and cooperated by having conversations online, and the collaboration pushed them to step outside their comfort zones. For example, in Publique, Duan chewed gum on stage, which was a departure from her more serious performances.

Initially, she wasn’t a fan of the idea that she had to chew gum during the show, but she took a leap of faith with Monnier’s encouragement.

Women in Motion West Bund

Duan’s solo performance Publique. Image via Fan Xi


Duan chewing gum in Publique. Image via Fan Xi


Image via Fan Xi

According to Duan, her work, for the most part, has been very serious. However, while performing as part of this show at West Bund Museum, she had the opportunity to let go and explore new and exciting areas of her artistic sensibility and professed to find this journey fascinating.


Duan performs The Portrait of the Crowd. Image via Fan Xi


Shi and her team perform Shell Act Spring Ksana. Image via West Bund Museum

Shi Jingxin and her team also performed their work Shell Act Spring Ksana.

Shi said that this work highlighted the idea that “life is too short.” The dancers portrayed pivotal moments in a woman’s life, such as pregnancy, giving birth, and aging, among other things, to reflect this idea.

According to Shi, this was the first time she witnessed an event with such a heavy emphasis on women’s empowerment in dancing.

Shi-Jing-Xin Women-in-Motion

Image via West Bund Museum

Kering launched Women in Motion in 2015 to shine a light on women’s contributions to cinema. Now, the project has expanded to highlight women in all areas of the arts. The project aims to serve as an eye-opening platform to challenge prevailing notions and bring recognition to women in art.

We can’t wait to see what Women in Motion will showcase next year!

Cover image via West Bund Museum

Kayla He
    Born and raised in China, Kayla received her BA in Communications and Public Service from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently works as a staff writer at RADII and is passionate about telling stories related to social issues women's empowerment. You can find her exploring coffee shops in Shanghai in her free time or rushing for Duffy and Friends plush toys at Shanghai Disneyland.
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