That thing about qin music being “a literary art” cuts both ways. There’s also a great musical sense—or at the very least, a clear sense of rhythm and form—inherent in fine Chinese calligraphy, which Lin Hwai-min, founder of Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, has called “the epitome of Chinese culture” for its combination of both literal verbal meaning and visual elegance in a frozen frame of motion.
While Lin’s Cursive trilogy turned the latent energy of still, calligraphic characters into living, dramatic ones, the much-younger choreographer Shen Wei mined the same field from the other direction: his Connect Transfer was essentially “dancing a painting” executed on a floor cloth using ink-soaked clothing. Appropriately enough, Shen (who studied calligraphy as a child) has also developed something of a reputation as a proper painter, his artwork having been shown in New York and Hong Kong (the latter in conjunction with a local appearance of his company, Shen Wei Dance Arts). “All art forms are related to each other,” says Shen, who will offer insights into his working process as part of the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series.
Footage of Shen Wei Dance Arts performing Connect Transfer II
Posted by Ken Smith