Today I find myself in Beijing…

So today I find myself in Beijing. I’m here on tour throughout China with Random Dance for the next two weeks and, having arrived only yesterday morning, am still fighting against jet-lag. Shortly after arriving a group of us went to visit the Forbidden City, an enormous, ancient palace complex in the centre of the city with vast courtyards and ornate stone carvings. Today we took a minibus up to the Great Wall and walked along a small stretch. Actually it was more up and down than along, as the wall climbs up and over some rather steep mountainsides. It was either a good limber up for tomorrow’s performance or a mistake I’ll only know the full meaning of when I try and get the legs moving! Still, worth it for the stunning views and another wonder of the world checked off the list.

The journey there and back gave me some time to read some more of the book I’m currently trudging through (when I managed to keep my eyes open) – In Defense of Lost Causes by Slavoj Žižek. It’s a fascinating, if slightly challenging, critique of contemporary liberal democracy and an exploration of revolutionary politics, with a bit of Lacanian and Freudian psychoanalysis thrown in there. It’s certainly shaking up my thoughts and perhaps too comfily held beliefs and will no doubt come in useful in the Open University politics course I’m studying at the moment – the last of six years of study.

As well as performing here, we’ll be rehearsing for the new piece I’m making for Random. It’s almost finished but needs quite a lot of cleaning, which won’t happen until I stop adding to it, changing bits and in general making things more complicated. It’s hard not to when I have a great group of dancers to work on, but I get the feeling they’re a bit worried about it being ready for the shows, so maybe now’s the time to settle for what’s there and polish it off. Once it’s finished that is…

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About Alexander Whitley

Alexander Whitley trained at the Royal Ballet School. He joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2000 and was promoted to first artist in 2002. Alexander later joined Rambert Dance Company in August 2004, has toured with Michael Clark and Sydney Dance Company, and joined Wayne McGregor|Random Dance in September 2010. Alexander has twice been nominated for Outstanding Performance in the Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards. Alexander choreographed five pieces for Rambert including ‘Solo?’ which was taken into the company’s repertoire. He is currently a Choreographic Associate at the Royal Opera House. Upcoming show: Sampled

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