Three years after its last tour to Asia, Scottish Dance Theatre is pleased to reconnect with fans in China through a unique collaboration with Beijing-based Yabin Studio on 合[Hé], a short film exploring our relationship with nature and the environment. Beautifully shot by the dancers themselves, the film weaves a visual tapestry capturing the dancers from Scottish Theatre Dance performing in Dundee and Yabin Studio in Beijing. The film is now available digitally to global audiences on the Scottish Dance Theatre website and YouTube Channel.

In this international collaboration across art forms, choreographers Joan Clevillé and Yabin Wang have joined creative forces with digital artist Genevieve Reeves, taking inspiration from the five phases of Wuxing in Chinese traditional philosophy: Fire, Water, Wood, Metal and Earth. The dancers interact with natural and urban environments, building intangible bridges across dance disciplines and the landscapes of Dundee and Beijing, Scotland and China. The film was recently premiered as part of the 2nd China Contemporary Dance Biennale and is available on its website until 20 September.

As we watch the dancers’ bodies rise and fall, we witness the cycles of growth and decay in nature, the seasons following one another, reminding us of the invisible connections that sustain our environment and the exquisite fragility of the Universe’s dance.

This is the first time that internationally acclaimed choreographer Yabin Wang, who is an Associate Artist of Shanghai International Dance Center Theatre, collaborates with a dance company in Scotland.

Representing a fresh approach to international cultural exchange, the work is also a testimony to the Scottish Dance Theatre’s commitment to develop more environmentally friendly ways of sharing work with international audiences. [Hé] is a prototype for future collaborations aiming to reach both local and global audiences digitally and through partnerships with arts organisations around the world.

合[Hé] was produced with the support of British Council in collaboration with Shanghai International Dance Center Theater and Scottish Dance Theatre. As part of their endeavour to making dance more accessible, the organisations have developed an audio described version of the film with specialist Emma-Jayne McHenry, which will be available in English and in Mandarin for blind and visually impaired audiences.

Joan Clevillé, Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre said: “It’s been a real privilege to collaborate with Yabin Wang and Shanghai International Dance Center Theater in this project. For me, this is the essence of international cultural exchange: learning more about each other, especially during these challenging times of the pandemic. It has also been a fantastic opportunity to re-connect with our followers and China and to explore new, more environmentally sustainable ways of collaborating across borders.”

This special digital project is set to strengthen Scottish Dance Theatre’s existing links with Asia, where the Company has performed regularly since its first visit in 2009.

In addition to this new film, Scottish Dance Theatre’s work The Life and Times, will be featured as part of this year’s Tokyo Festival online programme between 15 and 28 October. One of the major events in the cultural life of Japan’s capital city, the 2021 edition of Tokyo Festival will feature digital and live performances by internationally acclaimed companies and artists.

Premiered last June, The Life and Times was conceived and directed by the Company’s Artistic Director Joan Clevillé, as a cinematic and surreal dance journey filmed in one continuous shot on the stage of Dundee Rep. The work oscillates between playfulness and abstraction to create a visual meditation on human fragility and our relationship with time, and is set to a sumptuous soundtrack of European Baroque music.