Hao Jingban

Hao Jingban is a young filmmaker and artist based in Beijing. Hao obtained a MA degree in film theory from the University College of London and has a particular fascination with essay and documentary films. In the past few years, she has been conducting research into the culture of ballroom dancing in Beijing. Ballroom dancing is deeply embedded in the memories of two generations of Chinese, those who came of age in the 1950s and those whose youth fell in the 1980s. They are separated by the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), when Western-style ballroom dancing was suppressed in favor of mass “loyalty dances” in honor of Mao Zedong. Hao uses her camera to document, closely and subtly, the vestiges of this significant, nearly forgotten social phenomenon.

In her work A Dance Party (2013), Hao Jingban employed a documentary method and perspective to create a 25-minute long video, which is a real-time recording of the complete and usual process of dancers entering, dancing and exiting a Beijing dance hall. The multi-layered narrative in Hao Jingban’s four-channel video installation I Can’t Dance weaves together a mixture of both first-hand and source materials related to the subject of ballroom dancing and the political and historical contexts in which it was and is embedded. There are interviews with veteran dancers who have been part of the ballroom dancing scene in Beijing since the 1950s, recordings of them dancing in their usual dance hall in Beijing, excerpts from two films Song of Youth (1958), and Intrepid Heroes (1959) in which ballroom dancing is presented as overtly a medium of socializing and in essence a covert test of one’s political status, and an excerpt from Get Up and Dance, a morning TV program of 1997 that teaches ballroom dance moves. Through the study and perspective of a leisure activity, they conjure up a portrait of an ideologically charged historical period.


Born in 1985, Hao Jingban currently lives and works in Beijing. Hao graduated from Goldsmiths College, London, with a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication (2007), and from University of London with a master’s degree in Film Studies (2010). She has participated in the following exhibitions: the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale (OCAT Shenzhen, 2012), From the Issue of Art to the Issue of Position: Echoes of Socialist Realism (OCAT Shenzhen, 2014), Sight and Sound (Jewish Museum, New York, 2014), The Civil Power (Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, 2015), Southern Wind (Antenna Space, Shanghai, 2015) and Discordant Harmony (Hiroshima MOCA, Japan, 2015). In 2016 she opened the solo exhibition Over-Romanticism (Taikang Space, Beijing, China), and in 2013 curated OCAT Screens: The Prose of the World for 2013. She has edited a collection of essays entitled The Prose of the World, which will be published in 2016. Hao’s curatorial practice revolves around that image as a way to narrate history and the descriptive and critical potentials of the language of image.