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Shen Wei Dance Arts Blog

Hailed by the New York Times as "startlingly imaginative", Shen Wei Dance Arts (SWDA) creates interdisciplinary, cross-cultural performance for forward-looking audiences. Each work by Artistic Director Shen Wei develops an original dance vocabulary incorporating visual and storytelling elements from the theater, Chinese opera, Eastern philosophy, traditional and contemporary visual art, and sculpture. The result, at turns figurative and abstract, combines performance with strong scenic elements to create a "fascinating fantasy in movement" (Sydney Herald Sun). In the nine short years since its inception at the American Dance Festival (ADF), SWDA has assumed a position among the top tier of dance ensembles worldwide. In addition to repeated engagements at ADF (2000-2009), Lincoln Center Festival (2003-2005, 2007, 2009), the Venice Biennale (2003, 2005), Los Angeles Music Center (2004, 2007), Het Muziektheater Amsterdam (2003, 2005, 2007), and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2005, 2007, 2008) the company continues to perform at premier festivals around the world, from Spoleto to Jacob's Pillow, Edinburgh to Rome, Montpellier to Hong Kong, Mexico City to Sydney. For its work, SWDA has been recognized worldwide. In 2008, Shen Wei and the company were commissioned by the Beijing Organizing Committee to develop material for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies on August 8, 2008. Shen Wei has likewise been commissioned by the American Dance Festival nine times; by Lincoln Center Festival; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; New York City Opera; Het Muziktheater Amsterdam; and Alvin Ailey II, among many others. In May 2007, the company began a five-year residency at the Kennedy Center; in June of the same year, it gave the first dance performances at Frank Gehry's Disney Hall in Los Angeles; in July,it returned to Lincoln Center Festival for the fourth time in five years; and in September, Shen Wei was awarded both MacArthur and US Artist Fellowships. In 2005, the company received Australia's Helpmann Award for Best Ballet or Dance Work for its four sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House and in 2001 and 2003 was named one of the top ten best dance performances by the New York Times.

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