East meets west in the Shen Wei Dance Arts performance at the Phillips Center
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — East meets West when Shen Wei Dance Arts comes to the University of Florida for a performance at 7:30 p.m. April 14 at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
The New York-based company is committed to the creation of new dance works for the 21st century and is founded on exploring new dance techniques and the natural development of physical vocabularies in relationship with music, theater, opera and the visual arts. The 7-year-old dance company is a unique hybridism of Western and Eastern cultures. Much of the company’s eclectic nature can be attributed to the diverse background and nature of its founder, Shen Wei.
“I wasn’t taught the arts separately, so I don’t separate them in my work,” Wei said. “Because I’m a painter, I want to see how dance movement relates to music and how also music and dance relate to visual art, to see how the three elements combine. My work isn’t about real life, or about being Western or Eastern. I’m exploring the unknown. I’m looking for a new way to communicate.”
Born in Hunan, China, Shen Wei is a choreographer, dancer, painter and designer. At the age of 9, he began to study Chinese opera, an art form that emphasizes vocals, instruments, costumes, makeup and stylized movement. He worked for the Hunan State Xian Opera Dance Company and was an original member of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the first modern dance company in China, where he worked as a dancer and choreographer.
In 1995, Wei moved to New York after receiving a scholarship from the Nikolas/Louis Dance Lab. He founded Shen Wei Dance Arts in 2000 at the American Dance Festival, and the company made its debut at the Lincoln Center Festival with the two dance works “Rite of Spring” and “Folding,” which will be featured in its performance at the Phillips Center.
Philip Montana, who received his B.F.A. in dance performance from the University of Florida, is a member of Shen Wei Dance Arts and will perform with the company on April 14.
Tickets are available by calling the Phillips Center Box Office at 352-392-2787 or 800-905-2787 or by calling Ticketmaster at 904-353-3309. Orders may be faxed to 352-846-1562. Tickets are also available the Phillips Center Box Office, University Box Office at the University of Florida Reitz Student Union and all Ticketmaster outlets; and on the Web at www.ticketmaster.com.
The Phillips Center Box Office is from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and two hours before performances.
- Amy E. Schafer, 352-392-1900, ext. 324