New Futures: Xiesiwen XU

Welcome to the final instalment of our New Futures blog series. This series showcases interviews with participants who performed in SparkFest 2023. We will be delving into their creative practices, future plans, and goals, as well as the necessary steps they'll take to achieve them.

Today, we’re pleased to be speaking with Xiesiwen XU, a dancer and mover, who performed Roots in SparkFest this year.

Hi Xiesiwen XU! Can you briefly introduce what you do? 

During SparkFest 2023, I showed a live performance called Roots. My main mediums are dance and the body. In this work, I want to create a field in which the audience is invited to engage in a dynamic meditation to feel gravity and rethink our relationship with the earth in the process of human exploration and civilisational evolution.

Reflecting on your journey as a creative practitioner so far, what are some moments that you’re particularly proud of?

What I’m really proud of is the shift in my state when I perform. I used to feel nervous in previous performances, but now I’m more focused on feeling what I’m doing and my own body. It’s a more honest and immersive state than the performance itself. This state of total immersion is what I’m looking for in every performance from now on.

Is there a specific project or show that you consider a turning point in your career?

Roots was a small turning point. This work deepened my understanding of site-specific performance, where I need to work with the space I’m in and be a part of it. Although the performance will end, I think the beauty of this type of work is that by giving the audience a lasting impression and memory, they will be reminded of something every time they come back to this place.

It is also an interdisciplinary piece, and I worked with musician Elliott James, who inspired and helped me on an aural level and also made me think and create from other perspectives. This experience also made me more interested in interdisciplinary collaboration.

What challenges did you encounter performing Roots?

I was having trouble conceptualising my work. I couldn’t find the right concept to support the whole piece. Then I did a lot of research, gathering and reviewing all the relevant information, looking for connections between them, and the concept slowly emerged. Through this process, the creator becomes more aware of his or her own creative tendencies and is gradually able to develop the initial concept into a mature work.

What are the key goals you hold for the next stage of your artistic development?

The first thing is to keep training and to explore different ways of developing the body and creating dance by participating in different projects. Secondly, I hope to work more with people from different fields.

What are you focussing on to achieve your future goals?

The development of the body and mind is something that has to be continued. In addition to this, I would like to raise my awareness of networking, find out what others are doing, and establish collaborative links with the right people. By the way, this is my email:! Please feel free to connect with me :).

Who would you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Yes, I would like to collaborate with more sound and film creators, fine art or new media artists, and professionals in robotics or VR/AR-related fields. I believe they will lead me to explore how dance reacts to different disciplines and broadens its boundaries.

What advice or insights would you give to aspiring creative practitioners who are just starting their careers?

It’s a bit of a cliché, but the most important thing is to find what you’re most passionate about, what you’re happiest and most fulfilled doing, and then stick with it. It’s important to know yourself, and it’s great to think about the value you bring to others.


Xiesiwen XU’s Instagram


MA Dance Bath Spa University: Instagram

Picture of SparkFest


Posted by the SparkFest team.