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IMPRESSIONS: YYDC Presents "NOWHERE" at Chelsea Factory

IMPRESSIONS: YYDC Presents  "NOWHERE" at  Chelsea Factory
Miranda Stuck

By Miranda Stuck
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Published on June 29, 2023
YYDC in "NOWHERE"/Photo: Christopher Duggan

Electricity from the Ground Up

IMPRESSIONS: YYDC Presents NOWHERE at Chelsea Factory
Choreographer: Yue Yin
Composer and Musician: Alexandre Dai Castaing
Lighting Designer: Solomon Weisbard
Set Designer: Andrew Boyce
Costume Designer: Christine Darch
Assistant Costume Designer: Casey Crespo
Stage Manager and Production Manager: Tricia Toliver
Musicians: Alexandre Dai Castaing (Percussion), Julia Kent (Cello), Emilie Tack (Vocals)
Performers: Liane Aung, Joan Dwiartanto, Alexsander Swader, Kristalyn Gill, Grace Whitworth, Nat Wilson, Corinne Lohner, DaMond LeMonte Garner
Producers: Joseph Tedeschi and Yue Yin

Entering choreographer Yue Yin’s creation NOWHERE, every attendee is transported into a world of uncertainty and eerie beauty. Yue turns an immersive 75-minute production at Chelsea Factory into an emotional, gasp-provoking, and twisted journey between the primal need for belonging and the loneliness of disconnectedness. Mapping the stage, Yue directs eight dancers through an athletic marathon. Surrounding the empty black marley floor, black deconstructed cinder blocks and an intense sheet of fog create a jarring, eerie atmosphere. Rows of audience members sit on the edge of their seats on either side of the space, anticipating the unknown with hyper-curiosity.

“Evoking a state of uncertainty and a sense of disconnectedness from our tangible reality, the piece challenges us to embrace feelings of the unknown and to explore new possibilities and new directions,” states the program.

Five dancers' pictured in a head and torso shot tableau. Wearing dark colors so they melt into the black background we notice they face the right side, mostly with eyes closed, faces all poised in various states of reflection.
YYDC in  NOWHERE;  photo by Christopher Duggan

As darkness slowly swallows the room, six dancers appear under a pool of light descending from a fixture overhead. Circling head rolls begin to cycle as the dancers interweave and connect at changing contact points. There is a distinct, fluid articulation of the joints in the dancers’ shoulders and arms unique to Yue’s creative style, which fuses together Chinese folk and contemporary dance into Yue’s original movement vocabulary “FOCO Technique”. Drawing cursive lines from their lumbar spine to fingertips, the dancers cohesively expand inches beyond their reach. Each one soars, covering extreme surface levels of the space while deliberately transferring energy between bodies. Momentum builds as drum playing quickens, filled with beautiful moments of striking unison and muscled dynamics. Joan Dwiartanto stands out with a vulnerable expressiveness in her eyes and torso, utilizing her limbs to convey the perfect balance of gentleness and power.

NOWHERE engages and pushes the audience to question timelines and value in relationships, whether between us and friends and family, or our imprint on Earth. “NOWHERE… exists outside of any identifiable location or discernible moment in time,” states the program. The feeling of uncertainty speaks to humanity: we desperately need connection. This concept is specifically visual during a series of striking duets: dancers Alexsander Swader and Dwiartanto perform remarkably intricate partnering; and Grace Whitworth and Nat Wilson fold into each other’s negative spaces. Both duets own stunning rippling lifts, magnetic forces driven by trust and comfort, and an understanding of each other’s physical limits. Dancer DaMond LeMonte Garner owns the stage with a solo offering sliding, generous movement and grounding. His shoulders become wings as he balances, jumps, and floats into never seen before shapes created by Yue’s matchless dancemaking.

Fived dancers, three male and two female, face us and jump up.  Parallel legs point down and arms loosely fly sideways and upward, as the dancers look to their right. They all wear dark flowing shirts and wide-legged dark pants.
YYDC in NOWHERE; photo by Christopher Duggan

All the dancers under Yue’s wing use their full commitment and heart to transmit electricity from the ground up, delivering her extraordinary brain’s vision in real time. Lightness and joy inflate during the remaining ten minutes of the performance. Smiles and eye contact complement the warm light seeping into everyone’s eyes. “Infused with Yue’s stirring physicality and dynamic movement, NOWHERE takes us across boundaries on a journey of self-discovery and provides a communal transcendent experience,” states the program. A feeling of resolving greets the eight dancers as the glowing light emulates sunrise. The audience has experienced an unequaled journey of self-discovery. The dancers finally unite, finding each other in the midst of NOWHERE.

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