In the past Shanghai was called ‘Paris of the East’, nowadays it is perceived by some people as China's New York. If you are looking for glamorous nightclubbing, Shanghai has all the colors you need.
A hedonistic new rich are busy forming the city's reputation as home to some of the world's most decadent nightlife. At clubs such as Muse or Muse 2, for instance, VIP patrons spend up to 40,000 euros on bar tabs in scenes ‘de la Vie de Boheme’ not seen since the 1930s.
The city of Shanghai sits along the delta banks of the Yangtze River along the eastern coast of China. It is the world’s most populous city, the 2010 census counts 23 million people. With that many humans, the city is a marvellous sight at night. The bright lights of the downtown and the modern skyscrapers that form the skyline along the Pudong district make for spectacular night viewing.
‘The main reason why our Dance show ‘D-Queens’ went to Shanghai to perform, is that we are very interested in what’s happening in China these days. The rapid modernization, and the huge influence China will have in the world in the years to come is not just something we should not pay attention to’, says Mario Mitkov, a producer of ‘D-Queens’.
‘There are high number of tier clubs, and we personally enjoyed them quite a lot.
Chinese clubbing experience is unique. We were firstly very surprised by the shear number of sofas and tables in a club. This is because wealthy clients go clubbing to drink and play drinking games in clubs’, continues Mario. ‘Chic Shanghai clubs invest a lot in interior designs, they are really fancy looking, with great furnishing and cool lighting/laser/sound equipment’.
The three beautiful dancers of ‘D-Queens’ are unanimous in their admiration for barmen in the ‘Muse 2’ club. ‘The cocktails here beat even the best of Western standards for a well-made cocktail’, they admit. ‘The crowd is very multicultural and includes a diverse mix of young professionals, older expats, foreign and local business elite’.
‘Muse 2’ is a nightclub situated on the 4th floor of Hongkong Plaza Mall on Huaihai road. ‘The club left the best impressions due to its location, its atmosphere and the people who go there! We would love to return there one day to just have a ball, as clients , not as performers’, laughs Mario.
In the realm of electronic music, Shanghai's footing is quite firm. China’s hype and the city's futuristic appeal make it an attractive destination for DJs and dancers from overseas. At the same time, with so many visiting artists, audiences become more selective and club promoters now focus on talent and originality; "foreign artist" is no longer the hook of the party promoter. From Mario’s point of view, ‘a foreign dancer who wants to successfully perform in China, should be experienced, have an original concept, costumes, choreographies, and a constant desire to surprise”.
On the other hand, since EDM doesn’t have the roots in China that it does in many other countries, where underground raves and the drugs that fuel them have been popular for decades, Chinese clubbing scene is a ‘tabula rasa’ for local and foreign artists, a huge opportunity to create and realize their potential’, adds Mario.
Talking about the value of cultural exchange, Mario explains: ‘All we’re trying to do is to create opportunities for young Chinese people to see contemporary Russian nightclub dance performance, to share with them the experience of partying Russian-style. There could be millions of potential club dancers all over China, but if they never see what other countries produce, they’ll never create something original of their own’, concludes Mitkov.
By Marina Kazakova
Marina Kazakova is a transmedia researcher, poetry visualizer and a writer.
She graduated from the department of Transmedia of 'Sint Lukas University Brussels' with an art-based research thesis on 'How to Visualize Poetry'. Currently she runs her own artistic production «Seanema».