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Friday, July 8, 2011

First facts: Shen Wei's upcoming world premiere,
LIMITED STATES, at ADF

Posted by on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Hunter Carter, Jessica Harris and Brandon Whited in STILL MOVING. <br> Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2011.
  • photo courtesy Shen Wei Dance Arts
  • Hunter Carter, Jessica Harris and Brandon Whited in STILL MOVING.
    Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2011
Thursday afternoon, the American Dance Festival released the tantalizing first details of choreographer SHEN WEI's new work, whose world premiere next Thursday is easily anticipated as one of the high points of ADF’s 2011 season.

Its name is LIMITED STATES. Rumors concerning a video component designed by the choreographer are now confirmed, and parents in the viewing audience may want to know the new work involves nudity.

But the big reveal—thus far—is that patrons who attended his company's two performances of a work called STILL MOVING in June at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art may have gotten more than just a glimpse into the work that's headed our way. More on that in a moment.

For the most part, the information available at this point leaves us with an intriguing array of question marks. We've learned that a New York-based media design firm, FAKE LOVE, is credited with "video projection: effects and production." After digging a bit into Fake Love's track record, we found a group whose “experiential designs” have involved projecting arresting visuals onto a cloud of 500 balloons for a Microsoft rollout, CG-enhanced media support and commercials for fashion designers and high-line cosmetics, the History Channel and Google, as well as atmospheric animated and video backdrops for Girl Talk and Phantogram’s concert tours. Particularly given Fake Love's trippy clips reel, in this case the term "effects and production" leaves plenty of room open to interpretation.

LIMITED STATES is divided into three movements over 65 minutes. The first, “Dimensions,” is set to an intriguing soundscape including Rossini, NOAA weather reports, ethereal, ambient audio by Asher Thal-Nir and decidedly minimal percussion by Jarrod Fowler.

The second movement, “0-11,” honors the 11 years founding company member Sara Procopio has danced with Shen Wei since her first work with him (as an ADF student) in 2000’s NEAR THE TERRACE. Her solo is set to the controlled feedback of noise composer Daniel Burke’s group, Illusion of Safety.

Burke is also credited for the music in the final section, “Internal External #2,” which we've learned is based on a similarly-named piece that concluded Shen Wei Dance Arts’ evening-length performance, STILL MOVING, in the courtyard of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in June of this year.

Shen Wei Dance Arts in STILL MOVING. Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2011.
On the Musical America blog, critic Rachel Straus commented on the contrasts in that work between “sharp and smooth, slow and fast, balancing and falling [and] solo and group movement,” to Burke’s “repetitive clanging soundscape [that first] evoked an industrial hell,” while Jessica Geiger review for NY Arts noted the dancers’ “rubberized and revealing suits."

The rest, we learn at DPAC next Thursday night.

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