Contextualizing Dance Dramaturgy – Workshop Series

Curated by: Thomas Shaupp, Fabrizio Massini
Produced by: Ibsen International
Supported by:
Goethe Institut China (Beijing session) (December 22nd, 2017)
ErGao Performance Workshop (Guangzhou session) (December, 25th, 2017)
We Festival of Future (Shanghai Session) (December, 30th, 2017)
Photo credit: Ruqing Xu

Dramaturgy is a relatively new profession in the dance-field, especially in modern and contemporary dance and physically-based performance practices. As a notion, Dramaturgy can be defined as “the evolution of ideas through time” and “the compositional, cohesive, or sense-making aspects of a performance”. Dramaturgy can also be understood as a collaborative practice connecting art world and society, or translating the art work for its audience. The dramaturge, acting as an “outside eye”, assists the choreographers in building up the journey of a dance work by questioning, contextualizing and observing.

Between December 20 and January 4, dance dramaturg Thomas Shaupp and Ibsen International’s artistic director Fabrizio Massini will travel to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai to meet local dance artists. In each city we will also organize theoretical-practical Workshop sessions to discuss and share concepts of Dramaturgy, both historical and contemporary, and their relevance within the dance field. Through simple exercises we will introduce different dramaturgical methods that can be adopted to different creative processes. By sharing and discussing experiences and methods with local practitioners, we will pay special attention to comparing the European and Chinese scenes, to identify commonalities and differences.


Guangzhou session

Some of our leading questions are: how to contextualize oneself (as an artist, choreographer, dancer) in a cultural environment? How to articulate one’s intentions (to curators, the audience, one’s team etc) precisely?

Guangzhou Session

The emerging findings will be a starting point for the development of the program “Dance Dramaturgy in China” in the coming year(s).

Shanghai Session 




Thomas Schaupp, Berlin, studied theatre- and dance-theory at Freie Universität Berlin. As a dance-dramaturge he is collaborating with several choreographers, currently with Kat Válastur, Anne-Mareike Hess, Stian Danielsen as well as for the festival “Tanztage Berlin”. As a lecturer and critic he has been invited to festivals and conferences across Europe and Canada. In the season 2014/15 he was resident critic at ada-studio Berlin. Thomas is a guest-teacher at the Inter-University Centre for Dance in Berlin and facilitates workshops on dance-dramaturgy and the dramaturgical in choreographic centres across Europe. In 2017, he is co-curating the conference “Lab:Dance – (Dance)Dramaturgy as a collaborative practice”, in collaboration with the festival “CPH Stage” in Copenhagen.

Fabrizio Massini studied Chinese at the University of Florence and University of London (SOAS), furthering his studies on Chinese theatre at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. Based in China since 2009, Fabrizio is active as performing arts producer, curator and dramaturg. Fabrizio collaborated with several European and Chinese organizations including Beijing Fringe Festival, Wuzhen Theatre Festival, Guangzhou Dance Festival, Odin Teatret (Denmark), Centrale Fies (Italy). Since 2016 Fabrizio is Artistic Director at Ibsen International (Norway) where he curates and manages the Ibsen in China program. Fabrizio also regularly works as artistic consultant; he gave guest lectures at institutions including the Danish National School of Performing Arts, National Theatre Company of China, Shanghai Theatre Academy and others.