We flicked dance Xin Ji a few questions ahead of Pick & Mix this weekend.
What was it like studying at the Beijing Dance Academy?
To be honest, the training was really hard with long hours. We trained 5 and a half days a week from 7am to 7pm, sometimes until 9pm.
How difficult is it to be accepted for the Academy?
There were 8,000 people auditioning for BDA, so it was pretty competitive to get accepted as it’s one of the best dance schools in China.
You played the part of Mr. Mistoffelees in Cats. What was that role like to play?
That was really challenging because I performed a big number that not only included dancing, but also performing magic tricks. So the timing, singing, dancing and magic tricks needed to be perfect for it to work.
What brought you to Auckland?
I came to Auckland because I was seeking a better education, and I was interested in Western culture as well.
How different is the dance scene in New Zealand compared to China?
As an artist I feel that I have more creative freedom here in NZ. In China the [dance] style is more limited and doesn’t have as much variety as NZ offers.
You toured with the New Zealand Dance Company in 2015 with the Lumina Premiere Season both in NZ and abroad. How was that experience?
That was the most memorable tour I’ve ever been involved with in my life! The Lumina international tour to Germany and Holland was an amazing experience, especially because the production was so well received. The Lumina North Island Tour of New Zealand was also great, because I usually don’t get to travel much and with The New Zealand Dance Company I get to travel which is always fun.
You’re performing at Pick & Mix this weekend with the New Zealand Dance Company, what will you be showcasing?
We’ll be showcasing our Tamaki Tour. My favourite piece that we’ll be performing is ‘The Adventures of Xin’ - I’ve never had a work named after me before! Another piece that I love is ‘Brouhaha’ from Lumina, which I always feel very proud to perform. The other pieces that are performed by the other dancers are awesome as well, I really recommend coming out to see them.
What other projects are you working on?
Very soon I’ll start rehearsing with The New Zealand Dance Company for their new season of ‘The Absurdity of Humanity’ which opens in August at Q Theatre. But I’m currently working on my own choreography that will be part of the 2016 Tempo Dance Festival. When we came back from our international Lumina tour, I was really inspired and it made me want to choreograph and I am glad I get to present it as part of Tempo Dance Festival.
Xin Ji from The New Zealand Dance Company performs as part of the FREE Pick & Mix season this weekend and also in forthcoming season of The Absurdity of Humanity by The New Zealand Dance Company premiering at Q Theatre in August.
Saturday 18 June - Sunday 4 September
Get a free taste of the performing arts in
City / North Shore / Manukau
For the full Pick & Mix line up, venues and times head to