Often the most exciting is the unexpected adventure. The one that pulls you out of your comfort zone and demands you re-connect with your true self. It all started with a storm and landing in the wrong city. Somewhere in China.

Every day there was something unexpected, exciting and challenging. New colours, spices, smells, sensations, ideas, stories, languages, shapes, skills, limits, sounds and images.

Mihaela-Griveva-Lost-In-Translation-ArticleWhen I think back now what I remember most are the people I met. Many strangers became friends. We shared 23 days exploring Chinese ancient culture and traditions through the mediums of dance and art. We traveled, climbed Mount Wutai, visited Louguantai National Forest park, trained in an ancient village, danced in nature and met local people and artists. We exchanged stories, national dishes, dances and even became more familiar with our own European heritage.

Music, opera, calligraphy, painting, paper-cut, pottery and shadow puppetry were just some of the art forms we practiced.

Mihaela-Griveva-China-CEECIt was a great joy to share this journey with all the participants. Most of the Chinese students had very little English but this did not prevent us from becoming dear friends. Sometimes I felt lost in translation but these were the times when I relied more on all my senses and became more observant and absorbed. As the days went by we started using different ways to communicate. Sometimes the words or their meaning was not the important part. The energy behind them was much more meaningful and truthful.

Mihaela-Griveva-China-SpeachI gave two TV interviews, a speech for the final ceremony and got a mention in the Chinese news. I also got injured. There were times when my body and mind felt tired. Those moments though didn’t affect my experience. The great positive energy and excitement carried me through the process. We had a packed programme from 8am-10pm every day with no breaks for 23 days. At the end I was ready to take up any challenge that came my way.

China felt very welcoming and extraordinary with its caring and generous people. I found the principles of Chinese classical dance very close to my way of expression and movement flow. I loved the fluidity and story behind each movement. My interest in Chinese dance led me to further research its characteristics. I will share my experience and discoveries with you in a follow up article.

Mihaela-Griveva-ChinaI would like to thank Elia Liloff and Assen Assenov from One Dance Week who presented me with this opportunity. I’m very grateful to all the participants, teachers and organisers of the first China – CEEC Summer Dance Camp. You guys are fantastic and I miss you!

I believe this experience will unfold into unexpected realms and bring new and fruitful projects.

Hangyu Ji
Wang Yawen


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