In November 2006, the Canadian troupe Wen Wei Dance thrilled audiences with its performance of Unbound. Described as “sublime” by Le Devoir, the work received two Isadora Awards from the Vancouver Dance Centre for Excellence in Choreography and Excellence in Performance (for dancer Alison Denham). Well-known for its impeccable technique and incandescent red sets, the troupe directed by Wen Wei Wang is returning with Three Sixty Five, a choreography inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
“One compelling image follows another. The stage picture evolves and dissolves, in concert with the music […] Three Sixty Five is a bold and considerable achievement.” (The Vancouver Sun)
Three Sixty Five
When beginning Three Sixty Five in November 2006, Wen Wei Wang hoped to embark on a new path: “I wanted to challenge myself as a creator and go beyond myself and my own cultural roots. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is so well-known and so often chosen by choreographers that it would require a fresh and imaginative treatment to succeed. The project was not just to make movement, but a way for me to understand another culture through its music.”
In October 2007, Three Sixty Five was presented at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. Choreographed for six dancers accompanied on stage by two musicians, the piece is set to an original electronic score with live cello by Giorgio Magnanensi, inspired by the Vivaldi classic. An Italian musician based in Vancouver since 1999, Magnanensi has composed over 80 works (orchestral, chamber, electronic and multimedia), for which he has won numerous international awards. He is the artistic director of Vancouver New Music.
“… a driving electronic score adorned by live cellist Peggy Lee. His deconstruction of Vivaldi’s concerto occasionally allows well-known
melodies from the work to show through, but it is clearly music for the new age.” (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
Wen Wei Wang
Born in China on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, Wen Wei Wang began his dance training at the age of 13. Remarkably gifted, he made his professional debut at age 18 with Langzhou Regional Dance. Three years later, in 1986, Wen Wei Wang took part in a cultural exchange program with Canada. The experience was so positive for him that he moved to Vancouver in 1991. After dancing with Judith Marcuse Dance he joined the Ballet British Columbia, with whom he performed for seven years, interrupted by a one-year stint with the Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.
In addition to his work as a dancer, Wen Wei Wang hones his choreographic skills in creative workshops or in works commissioned by junior companies. In 2000 he received the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award, which allowed him to create Snow, a work for 14 dancers that left audiences “stunned by the beauty of the ethereal, elegant, exquisite movements” (Dance International). His work is characterized by a fusion of diverse dance techniques, a radiant sensuality and intricately designed lighting.
“A unique style with a highly refined aesthetic sensibility, perfectly controlled movement and a subtle mix of diverse cultural influences—so subtle that we never have the feeling that one predominates.”
Wen Wei Dance
In Vancouver in 2000, he founded Wen Wei Dance, for which he created the solos Tao and One Man's..., as well as Unbound, a work for six dancers which toured Canada (including Montreal) in 2006 and is slated for tours in China and Singapore in 2008. Three Sixty Five has been performed in Vancouver and Edmonton.
In addition to presiding over his company’s activities, Wen Wei Wang creates works for other organizations, including Ballet Jörgen, the Alberta Ballet Company, the Prix de Lausanne, the Dance Department of Simon Fraser University, Dancers Dancing, and dancer Lisa Hostman. He also choreographed Thirst, a duet with Peter Bingham of the EDAM company.
Duration: 80 minutes
Three Sixty Five
Choreographer: Wen Wei Wang
Performers: Scott Augustine, Karissa Barry, Alison Denham, Andrea Keevil, Yannick Matthon, Wen Wei Wang
Composer: Giorgio Magnanensi
Cellist: Peggy Lee
Lighting: James Proudfoot
Costumes: Kate Burrows
Photos: Donald Lee