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AUDIENCE REVIEW: KUN-YANG LIN/DANCERS's return to Annenberg Center
Kun-Yang Lin and Dancers
April 22 2021
The performance is right around the corner, and long behold, here it is. It was postponed in November of last year just before the Winter Shut Down in Philadelphia, and the question of live performances has been an eerie tone for theaters altogether.
In the studio, they worked out the concept in a round circle for what must be, a piece called "The Calling". Hints of emotions from their motion one way or the other gives color to the dance. It is shocking how the dance artists work through this piece to tell if it is believable. What is it about? The manifestation of unity in the studio captures a single space where their different worlds embrace oneness.
During rehearsal, like a life coach there is an echo of life lessons learned, and it drives me to understand the didactic approach that Kun-Yang Lin prefers in the studio. The strength and hope that is described through understanding one another, and uniting as a whole came forward in the studio that day. They describe a journey, and how to tell the story of a journey is different for each of them. While "The Calling" is a newly imaged work from an evening length work called, Faith Project/ The Door, the dialog was critical.
"Trust yourself, making choices… Every feeling in motion."
The reiteration of "feeling the space" occurred over, and over again. I had not realized we were in a repeating loop during this part of the rehearsal because the dance artists realized new aspects about the movement every time. They were working on a key transcendental moment in the show. It was the precursor to the solo danced by Kun-Yang Lin, called The Wind.
During an interview, Mr. Lin described the inspiration for his solo, "The Wind." The stillness of the wind has a certain sound that arrives with some kind of notion for the past. He mentioned the spinning, his connection to his body as he is getting older, and coming out of his retirement with this existential question, "what if one had only 1 year to live?"
The next solo piece, which turns into an ensemble of three dancers, Evalina "Wally" Carbonell, Annielille Gavino, and Keila Perez-Vega. The soloist, Wally, hovers above the floor off to stage left, and downstage dancers can be seen barely touching as they brush their fingers in a reach toward one another. They are coming together or at risk of separating. In unison the dancers find a rhythm that expands on the flight that occurs during Wally's solo.
The next piece, "Inside", by Weiwei Ma is a reimagined piece from "Home/s 9th st." which addresses the story of immigrants, and the meaning of home to them. The echo of a similar note from earlier in rehearsal was coming through, and that is how a dancer 'really looks'. We can see the movement, and understand the dancer is really looking. What are they looking at? What do they see? The dancers expressed their relation to the movement, and what it meant to them.
Another solo, by Annielille Gavino, is a strong emotional tie to motherhood. This amniotic sac, a red veil over the body, seems to be birthing something into the world. It is a powerful image that is a moment of transformation, and shows strength in unveiling truth . The mood was set and we grasped a change- refreshed, and reborn. Originally performed in 1988 part of a suite of three solos titled "Passage/ Three Aspects," and it was described in the New York Times as, "sleek, focused… imaginative use of its scores."
"The Duet," by Keila Perez-Vega and Wangbo Zhu, continues this feeling of renaissance into the next piece. It is an excerpt from Spring 101, that heightens the glorious movement through growth and relationships. The costume design by Jill Peterson in this piece captures a burst of sunshine of a brand new day. In each piece Mr. Lin has asked from the dance artists to express the need to commit, visualize, and commit. In this duet we are graced by sweeping motions in this dance.
The open rehearsal allowed us to capture their movement, and make predictions on how the dance may be interpreted. Fore, this was an open rehearsal, on April 08, it ONLY gives us an idea of where the dance could go. We must tune in, April 22nd, to purchase a ticket and witness Kun-Yang Lin and Dancers reimagined work and a World Premiere by Kun-Yang Lin, in a piece called "The Wind".