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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 10, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 06
A Dyke About Town: Shen Wei a true genius
Arts & Entertainment
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A Dyke About Town: Shen Wei a true genius

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Shen Wei Dance Arts
Mercy enjoyed the Shen Wei Dance Arts, part of the World Dance Series, at Meany Hall on February 3. She thought Shen Wei deserved his MacArthur award. Cuteness didn't feel well enough to go. Mercy's friends Joyfulness and Naturalness were there.

Limited States is a new piece. The University of Washington performance was only its second. Mercy thought the projections were interesting. The costumes were flesh colored with seemingly bare breasts and buttocks and showed off the lithe bodies nicely. The pointe work and lifts were excellent.

The first section, 'Dimension,' was groupings and pas de deux accompanied by weather reports, which Mercy thought was a unique approach.

The second section, '0-11,' involved Sara Procopio doing a vital solo, in which her hands and feet went into pools of paint, which resulted in her drawing across a canvas. The music for that was 'Crossing Now Bridges Intact' by Illusion of Safety. A note in the program says that '0-11' was created for founding dancer, Procopio, in celebration of her 11 years with Shen Wei Dance Arts. Using the body as a paintbrush was a fresh idea.

The final section had the dancers moving very quickly into and out of formations. The music, 'Internal External #2' by Daniel Burke, was mechanical, as were the movements of the dancers.

Joyfulness said she found the dance mesmerizing. 'The movements were very precise and well-coordinated. The skill level was amazing. The formations were amazing because they had to balance themselves, and they didn't struggle to get into position. It was extraordinary choreography and execution.'

Naturalness said, 'Overall, the audience was lukewarm. Many of the movements were beautiful. I enjoyed the video and seeing the bare bodies dancing so beautifully. I couldn't connect with the dance.'

There was a question and answer period. One question was, 'How is this a departure from your earlier work?'

Wei said, 'As a creative artist who has constantly created new work for 20 years, I wanted to do more research to find something new. It is science. What are the feelings I've never felt before?'

The second question was, 'How do you derive your original choreographic language?'

Shen answered, 'I go back to how the human body works. How muscles work. How energy works. Also how the senses work.'

Edwina Lee Tyler
Mercy thought Edwina Lee Tyler's album Things Are Gonna Change was remarkable. The songs were all originals. Tyler's marimba d'jembe, tom tom, and kick drum were pleasing. Gabrielle Schavran's cello suited the music. Linda Thomas-Jones' congas were rhythmic. Edwina's voice was nice and low. The titles were appropriate: 'Just a Little Bit,' 'East Meets West, 'Soulful Ancestors,' 'Climbing the Mountain,' 'Rumors,' 'Things Are Gonna Change,' and 'My Two Spirits.'

Regina Carter
Mercy is looking forward to seeing Regina Carter at Jazz Alley. Band members are Yacouba Sissoko (kora), Will Holshouser (accordion), Chris Lightcap (bass), and Alvester Garnett (drums/percussion). She will be there February 21 and 22. They are touring in support of their new CD Reverse Thread, their take on African folk melodies.

Carter is an amazing improvisational jazz violinist. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She accompanied Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton, and Max Roach.

You can get your tickets at jazzalley.com.

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