Shen Wei Dance Arts by Guy Gallo

BOMB 85 Fall 2003
085 Fall 2003 1024X1024

Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

Shen Wei Body

Shen Wei Dance Arts, Folding, 2003. Photo by Shu Lai. Courtesy of Shen Wei Dance Arts and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York.

As of this writing, only a handful of New Yorkers have entered the delightfully mesmeric world of Shen Wei Dance Arts. As of your reading, the company will have premiered Rites of Spring and Folding at the Lincoln Center Festival. If you missed it, I’m sure you’ll have another opportunity soon. I write to tell you: Keep your eyes peeled.

I’m not a dancer, and I’m not a dance critic. The best I can do, perhaps, is to describe what has moved this writer to venture an opinion, to say this is this editor’s choice: I didn’t know you could do that. That’s what I found myself puzzling as I watched Near the Terrace. It isn’t just about body, or about gesture, or about gesture deconstructed, or about narrative or music or the denial of music. It is wrought, it is designed, it is careful, it cares what I think, it welcomes. Shen Wei makes modern dance that isn’t ponderous; classical movement that requires you pay attention (rather than applaud set pieces); dance that shows the collision of fabric and flesh. Coldly sensual, brutally innocent, it takes you in and holds you firmly and, finally, audience and company form a thing that can truly be called meditative, whole.

Shen Wei, a painter as well as a choreographer, designer, and dancer, started in traditional Chinese opera at age nine and formed the first modern dance company in China. He came to New York in 1995 and has since gathered a group of dancers, utterly selfless and utterly committed, for whom gesture stands as community, not as idiosyncrasy or virtuosity. Even in their play, the pieces seem like machines mashing music into mind into body into us. No matter our field or form, this is what we yearn for: a making that surprises, an artifact that extends syntax.

 

Shen Wei Dance Arts will perform at the Tanzforum in Ludwigsburg, Germany, October 27-30 before traveling to Neuss, The Hague, and Amsterdam.

Related
Conversations with No Words: Michael Trusnovec Interviewed by Bibi Deitz
Michael Trusnovec Bomb Magazine 2019

The twenty-one-year veteran of Paul Taylor Dance Company on creating access for young dancers.

Getting Well Together: NIC Kay Interviewed by Vanessa Thill
Nic Kay1

Discipline, resistance, and care flow through the performance artist’s work.

Ligia Lewis by Catherine Damman
23263 C Julien Barbe S Ligia Waterwill

The recent conclusion of the choreographer’s trilogy, Water Will (in Melody), employs mime, gothic imagery, and a Grimm tale, to consider entanglements of nature, the feminine, and blackness.

Originally published in

BOMB 85, Fall 2003

Featuring interviews with Sol Lewitt, Vera Lutter and Peter Wollen, Rikki Ducornet and Laura Mullen, Edward St. Aubyn and Patrick McGrath & Maria Aitken, Jon Robin Baitz and Stephen Gaghan, Gina Gershon and Dave Stewart, EL-P and Matthew Shipp, and Suzanne Farrell.

Read the issue
085 Fall 2003 1024X1024