Spotlight: BM Space

The city's newest dance area throws open its doors to the creative community

The recent BM Space(Body and Music),dance company,opened in May 2011, is still gathering steam, focusing on experimental stage work and creating a platform for enhanced exchange.

'Crossover has become vogue in contemporary art, but most collaborations only exist on the technical level,' says cofounder Liu Yanan. ‘Artists are shaking hands from their own territories rather than crossing boundaries. Here they can share their concepts, ideas and working methods.'

Liu (a dancer) and both professional and romantic partner Yi Yin (musician) met when he came to her 2004 performance and was inspired into composition. ‘I know for some couples it’s not so easy to work together,’ says Yi, ‘but it’s natural for us because we both admire each other’s creations.’

The two were initially seeking their own rehearsal space, but decided to throw the doors open to Shanghai's long-suffering creative community who, apart from the usual arts anguish, are forced to stay under the radar. Artists with funding contribute nominal fees that subsidise others, while audiences watch for free. But unlike the similar Downstream Garage, Liu and Yi take a direct hand in programming.

‘We invite artists we’re interested in or we accept applications if we know how the pieces look and sound,’ Yi explains. ‘Acceptance doesn’t depend on whether it’s “independent”, but whether the piece is interesting.’ Past events have involved experimental music, dance workshops and poetry; in previous months, BM have welcomed Japanese dance company Haikara performing their work, The Fig Cinema.

To learn more, e-mail and help nurture Shanghai’s creative community. Says Liu, ‘any city with sensitivity to the arts needs more spaces like this.’

Nancy Pellegrini