Vancouver International Dance Festival proudly presents the Western Canadian Premiere of New York-based contemporary dance company, Shen Wei Dance Arts, on March 2 & 3, 2018 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. Widely celebrated for their mesmerizing movement, arresting beauty and elegant expression, the 12-member ensemble will leave an indelible impression with the presentation of two Western Canadian premieres: Folding and Rite of Spring from Artistic Director and choreographer Shen Wei. Drawing on his Chinese heritage and prowess as a visual artist, these works fuse Eastern and Western cultures, incorporating vivid colours, striking design, and imaginative use of space into theatrical, kinetic paintings.
Born in the Hunan province in China, Shen Wei has created works for prestigious dance companies across the globe, and was also selected as the principle choreographer for the 2008 Bejing Olympics Opening Ceremonies. The recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, Shen Wei is universally admired for the breadth and scope of his artistic vision.
The 2018 Vancouver International Dance Festival will present two anticipated Western Canadian premieres from Shen Wei Dance Arts:
A study in meditative minimalism, Folding is an otherworldly dreamscape set to Tibetan Buddhist chanting melded with prolific English composer John Tavener’s Last Sleep of the Virgin for Bells and String Quartet. It is a work of captivating simplicity and control that exemplifies the boundless depth of Shen Wei’s genius, not only in the choreography, but also in the design of the sets, costumes, and makeup. The dancers, clad in androgynous costumes with conical headpieces, display an almost inhuman elegance as they glide across the stage, at once serene and intoxicating. Their sinuous, uncanny grace is a testament to Shen Wei’s unparalleled vision and revolutionary innovation.
Rite of Spring
Choreographed in 2002, Rite of Spring is a compelling abstract interpretation performed to Stravinsky’s 4-hand piano version of his iconic score, in a recording by Fazil Say. Shen Wei brings a fresh sensibility to this well-known music by creating a fascinating physical calligraphy. The dancers spiral and swirl across the stage with an exuberance and lyricism that celebrates their athleticism and exhilarating artistry. Blending the physical vocabulary of Chinese opera seamlessly with western modern dance, Shen Wei creates an emotionally-charged experience unlike any other. This virtuosic tour-de-force embodies the tension between a rigid geometric formalism and a pulsating energy that cannot be contained.
Tickets to Shen Wei Dance Arts are available online at vidf.ca/tickets/.
2018 Vancouver International Dance Festival
Dates: March 2 & 3, 2018, at 8pm
Tickets: Adults $65, Seniors/Students $55, Groups of 10 or more $45 (please call VIDF box office at 604•662•4966 for group sales).
Address: Vancouver Playhouse 600 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 2P1
Box Office: vidf.ca/tickets
Image: Shen Wei Dance Arts in Folding. Image by Christopher Duggan