by Paula Citron
China-born, New York-based Shen Wei is both a choreographer and a painter, and visual elements infuse his movement. His two works are in stark contrast to each other.
In “Rite of Spring”, Shen was inspired by the musical structure of Stravinsky’s score. His high energy movement reacts to Stravinsky’s driving rhythms in criss-crossing patterns. The music is translated into bodies as if they are the musical notes themselves.
“Re- (Part One)” is a spiritual piece inspired by Shen’s journey to Tibet. Set to Buddhist chants, the work features four dancers who begin in a giant mandala of flower petals. The movement itself has an easy ebb and flow that drifts to the repetitive cadence of the chanting.
As the formal design of the mandala is destroyed something else is built in its stead. By the end, the dancers have created a new design where the petals and their bodies have merged into oneness.
Shen Wei Dance Arts continues until Saturday.
From Premiere Dance Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.