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Our Executive Director Mirna Zagar introduces Wen Wei Wang’s new work Dialogue, which premieres at Scotiabank Dance Centre May 25-27:
I first met Wen Wei Wang when he first arrived in Vancouver from China over 25 years ago, to pursue a career in dance. As a dancer, he stood out due to his exquisite technique and subtle expressiveness, with lines that carved the space beautifully - and his jumps! He has now established himself as one of the most imaginative artists in Canadian dance today, working with ballet (most recently Ballet BC) and opera companies as well as his own company Wen Wei Dance.
Wen Wei is masterful at weaving movement that is rooted in classical ballet, with influences from the Chinese Opera as well as urban forms he has embraced while living in Canada. As with many immigrant artists, he captures in his works the challenges of cultures meeting, and beautifully outlines the many choices immigrant face as they aim to fit in but also contribute to their new homeland, without disregarding their cultural traditions.
Dance requires the utmost discipline: Wen Wei knows that to succeed, you must work with the very best. He knows how to draw out the skills of each performer, to collaborate, but also to stay firmly at the helm of the creative process, paying attention to the smallest details. Failure is not an option, even when you venture into the unknown of the creative process! His style has a certain elegance, combining movement patterns, refined composition and a rich vocabulary.
Dance is about communication, and Dialogue is directly inspired by this theme. It draws from Wen Wei’s own personal experience as a non-English speaking immigrant to Canada, expressing the basic desire to be understood, and the loneliness when those connections with others are not achieved. He has chosen to work with six male dancers, all from different backgrounds (of both dance training and culture) and with different personalities, who try to find a way to connect.
We all share the desire to be understood, to fit in (even when we proudly stand up and state how different we are!), and we can all recognize when we don’t feel accepted. How can people, who might be very different to one another, live together? This is what Wen Wei considers in his work, which is not only autobiographical for him, but relevant to all of us, perhaps more now than ever.
Dialogue is a new chapter in Wen Wei’s artistic trajectory. He weaves it out of the individual dancers’ own stories and experiences, and they are a group of strong, diverse individuals each with their own vision and dreams. Ralph, Andrew, Arash, Tyler, Nicholas, Alex… we see their stories unfold, and through them we see Wen Wei composing a new chapter.
The Dance Centre presents the Global Dance Connections series
Wen Wei Dance: Dialogue
May 25-27, 2017 at 8pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St, Vancouver
Supported through the Artist-in-Residence program.
Photo: Chris Randle
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