In addition to having a 1,079-seat grand theatre and a 291-seat experimental theatre, this gleaming arts behemoth is Asia’s first professional dance centre. It will house the Shanghai Ballet and the Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble, as well as the Shanghai Dance School (two branches affiliated with the Shanghai Theatre Academy).
The two theatres have identically-sized stages for rehearsal purposes – dancers transferring stage sizes can appear visibly uncomfortable, or even crash into each other. And the rehearsal studios’ ‘springy’ floors should curtail injuries, a development which Shanghai International Dance Centre general manager Karin Zhang calls ‘new and creative technology.’
Now that four major Shanghai companies are to be located under the same lofted, state-of-the-art roof, it should hopefully see the dance world catch up with the mushrooming opera house construction business.
Furthermore, it should set the right tone. ‘Its birth and existence shows that China dance art and performance is maturing and the market is growing,’ says Zhang. ‘This dedicated theatre will help dancers have better performances.’