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Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Apr. 4 — Apr. 5, 2014

red, black &GREEN: a blues / The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
Washington, DC
Yin Mei Dance in Nomad: The River^13

Yin Mei

Yin Mei is a choreographer uniquely positioned to explore themes of artistic and spiritual significance arising at the intersection between Asian traditional performance and Western contemporary dance theater. Her approach to dance and visual theater conveys with stunning poetic clarity the impact of memory, history and cultural traditions on the journey of life.

 

Beguiling, mysterious and ultimately redemptive, Nomad: The River, a multi-media dance theater work choreographed by Yin Mei, focuses on themes of childhood memory, spiritual torment and the transformative power of art. Nomad: The River premiered to sold-out audiences at Dance Theater Workshop in New York in March 2005 and toured in 2006-07.

 

Created in collaboration with media artist/sound designer Chris Salter, this evening-length work for four dancers plumbs Yin Mei's experiences as a child during China's Cultural Revolution, and her subsequent path as an intercultural artist in America. The work is performed to an original score of electronic and natural sounds composed by Salter, with additional recorded music by composer Philip Glass and contemporary singer Keren Ann. Employing layers of sheer fiberglass screens stretching the width of the stage, Salter's computer-driven visual environment engulfs the audience in a three-dimensional world of dreams and shifting levels of consciousness.

 

Nomad: The River was commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop in New York City where it premiered March 9 - 12, 2005. The 2006-2007 tour of Nomad: The River was supported by the National Dance Project. Prior work includes /Asunder, a multi-media, cross-cultural dance theater work created in collaboration with installation artist Cai Guo-Qiang and composer Robert Een, which was produced by MAPP and premiered at Danspace Project in New York in May 2001. /Asunder toured to eleven U.S. cities throughout 2002 to critical and audience acclaim. Yin Mei's evening-length dance theater work, Empty Tradition/City of Peonies, premiered at the Asia Society in New York City in fall 1998 and was presented at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in August 1999. Conceived, choreographed and directed by Yin Mei, Empty Tradition/City of Peonies was the product of a year-long collaboration with Indonesian composer Tony Prabowo and prominent Chinese installation artist Xu Bing. Performers included dancers from Tibet and the U.S., a Buddhist martial artist, seven Indonesian musicians and a violist.

 

Yin Mei was born in China and started her professional career in traditional Chinese dance during the Cultural Revolution. Before coming to the United States to study modern dance on a grant from the Asian Cultural Council, she was a member of a leading Chinese dance company. Yin Mei now choreographs and performs her contemporary work worldwide, having forged a dance style employing Chinese energy direction and spatial principles as a means of creating dance within the rubric of Western dance-theater.