How has the performing arts field developed in Asia under the years?

As a whole, many interesting developments have evolved in the performing arts field in Asia. Our art from the traditional art to the contemporary has always been rooted in the day to day life. Art is very multidisciplinary, it’s about dance, it’s about storytelling, it’s about music. And what we can see now across the continent is that many directors and performance makers are rethinking and relooking at the classics and how to make them more connected with contemporary life, day to day living. But at the same time there are new languages that have been created and there are deeper ways where artists from different countries and cultures are coming together. Artists are also rethinking what a performance is. The study of the body is a real interest now in terms of dance – you look at the body and what can the body do. It’s interesting to think what does this mean for an Asian dancer who is trained in classical way to perform contemporary dance. So I think there are many paths of development, which makes the entire scene very alive and interesting, I’m constantly curious!

The fact that the Asian field is so diverse makes it such a great platform for the arts.

How could the field develop further in Asia?

I don’t think there is just one thing that needs to be done. We should allow the different art forms or scenes to develop. Asia is so diverse, there is not one scene, there are many scenes, many worlds that have been created.  The individual scenes are constantly evolving based on the people’s, artists’ interests. In order to develop the field, we should work with those individuals: what motivates them, what are the new ideas or concepts that they have. The fact that the field is so diverse makes it such a great platform for the arts, especially in Asia. We are all realizing that there is so much to celebrate in terms of engaging with the others – who ever the other is. It’s not geographical, it could be mindset, we can be in the same room but think differently and be motivated differently.  So what I am looking forward to is closer engagement and conversation in a way to agree and disagree. We should recognize this huge diversity and just enjoy it and celebrate it.

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“The Chinese market is not just about mass. There are individuals in a search for something different.”

Tang Fu Kuen
Independent Critic, Dramaturg and Producer
Bangkok

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Betsy Lan
Taipei Fringe Festival
Taipei

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Interview with Wai-lap Kwong

Wai-lap Kwong
Shanghai Cultural Links
Shanghai

“Somebody has to help the Chinese artists to find a sustainable source of financial support.”

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