‘Don’t be afraid to try new things’ Professional dance postgraduate advises students

An independent director for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games, Zhi Xu, Daniel, is a choreographer and dancer studying MA Dance Philosophy and History in the Department of Dance. 

Posted: 5 June 2017


Before coming to Roehampton, Daniel trained in classical and contemporary ballet since he was twelve years old and graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy. In 2008, he joined the Beijing Modern Dance Company as a choreographer and dancer touring world-wide in Canada, the United States of America, Belgium, and Malaysia. He joined one of China’s most prestigious events as an independent director at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games Ceremony. You can see a video of Daniel’s work in the Olympic Ceremony here.

Daniel chose to study at Roehampton because “I love exploring the philosophical theories and choreographic movement of human beings. The MA Dance Philosophy and History programme has given me the opportunity to explore interpretations of eastern and western philosophy in dance.”

He said “I love researching dance philosophy and especially enjoy the learning about the concepts of dualism, metaphysics, and aesthetics. In this degree, I have found that facilities are great for dancing and research with professional studios, a theatre for performances and a library with excellent resources. The lecturers here have really supported me on this new and exciting academic path.”

Daniel’s advice to students who are studying dance is “Finding your passion and identity in the dance field is crucial. Don’t be afraid to try new things. It is valuable to seek inspiration from many different sources in areas of fine art, film, literature and even nature.”

After Daniel finishes his degree, he plans to continue PhD research and set up his own contemporary dance company that focuses on collaborative projects with China and countries around the world.

See a video of Daniel’s latest performance Roehampton’s third year student-led This is Dance Festival.  To see more videos of Daniel’s work, visit his YouTube Channel.

The Department of Dance is rated number one for dance research in the UK (REF 2014). It has the world’s largest PhD programme in dance and offers a new comprehensive master’s portfolio. These outstanding degrees are MAs in Dance Anthropology, Dance Philosophy and History, Dance Politics and Sociology; MFA in Choreography; MRes Choreography and Performance; and the Choreomundus International Master in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage.

Photo Credits: Dusan Todorovic and Wei Zhang

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