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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Review: Shen Wei Dance Arts

Last night, I saw one of the most impressive dance performances in my relatively short dance experience. The Shen Wei Dance Arts was up at my old school, Berkeley, so I took the opportunity to go up there and see this.

The short review goes like this, there are 2 sequences, with an intermission between each sequence. The first sequence went on for 40 minutes and was composed of the exploration between what seems to be random movement and how one dancer's random movement can affect another dancer's movement. A lot of it seemed like water effects and the dance moves themselves were a mix of Chinese Kung Fu katas and traditional western ballet dance moves. It was interesting, a little thought provoking, but nothing spectacular.

The second sequence however, completely blew my mind away. The curtain opened to a still painting, a moving painting if one will. Inspired by a painting that the choreographer saw years ago, he has transformed that painting into a surreal piece of dance, not too much unlike something you'll see from a Salvador Dali painting..except its motion. The entire theatre was deathly quiet and you could hear people's breathing as somehow tension was brought onto everyone. At the end of the 20 minute sequence, everyone finally started breathing regularly again, and then gave a standing ovation.

Together, the random motion of the first sequence of the dance arts coupled with the slow and deliberate second sequence of the dance painting simply serves to give me my most memorable and intense dance performance that I've ever witnessed.

To summarize, if you get the chance to see this, don't pass it up. The tickets weren't terribly expensive and it is one of the most surreal and incredibly intense dance performances that I think I'l bear witness to

The only bad has a very limited showing, and I believe there are no more shows in the Bay Area...but for those of you reading outside the Bay Area, definitely something to look forward to if it shows up in your area! Here's a schedule.

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