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The Independence Foundation Fellowships in the Arts given to two local choreographers

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The Independence Foundation Fellowships in the Arts announced that fellowships of up to $10,000 have been awarded to 8 local performing artists. These fellowships will support research and development projects in a wide-variety of disciplines. The Fellowships in the Arts were created to help individual artists take the next step in their personal artistic growth and development.

The Board of Directors of the Independence Foundation selected the recipients, with the assistance of a Peer Panel comprised of regional artists and leaders of arts organizations.

Amongst the recipients in the category of dance were Kun-Yang Lin and Kate Watson-Wallace.

Since the Independence Foundation Fellowships in the Arts program began fourteen years ago, well over $1,800,000 has been awarded to 248 local visual and performing artists.

To be eligible for a Fellowship, an artist must be nominated by an official Nominating Organization.  The Nominators are arts organizations that have been grantees of the Independence Foundation.

KUN-YANG LIN, Artistic Director of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers & Founder of CHI Movement Arts Center, is acknowledged as one of Taiwan’s finest choreographers. He has received numerous awards in Taiwan, including the National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Award and the Taiwan Outstanding Artist Award. At the age of 12, Lin organized the first all-male dance troupe to perform in his native village of Hsin Chu after having spent the previous seven years directing his three sisters in numerous performances in their shared bedroom. His early training in calligraphy, painting, figure skating and martial arts came to play a significant role in his development as a performer and choreographer. In the U.S., Lin has been widely recognized for his dancing and choreography including, in 2002, by Back Stage, which selected him as “the year’s most promising choreographer in NYC.” Before moving to to the U.S., Lin performed the works of numerous, European post-modernist & contemporary choreographers on tour worldwide with London-based Transitions Dance Company and in New York City he continued his body research in the sources of American modern dance including in the companies of Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey Repertory Dance Company, Mary Anthony Dance Theatre, Anna Sokolow, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Kevin Wynn Collection, Paula Josa-Jones, Janis Brenner & Dancers, and in improvisation projects with renown musician John Zorn and award-winning artist, Lynn Shapiro. The New York Times has called Lin “an extraordinary dancer” and The Philadelphia Inquirer has hailed him as a “theatrical visionary… outstanding choreographer and compelling performer.” Lin’s choreography has been presented throughout the United States as well as in Asia, Southeast Asia, London, Vienna and Mexico. His work has been performed by numerous dance companies, universities and high schools. Highly sought as a teacher, Lin regularly offers master classes and workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad. Lin’s devotion to artistic excellence, movement research, education and community inspired him to found the CHI Movement Arts Center, described by Gov. Ed Rendell as “a place where the entire Philadelphia community can experience the art multicultural creative dance expression.” In 2009, Lin was named by the Painted Bride Art Center an “Artist of the City” for his outstanding contributions to the arts and culture of Philadelphia. In 2010, the Mayor of Hsin-Chu, Kun-Yang’s hometown, honored him with its “Pride of the City” designation for his cultivation of artistic excellence at the international level and in 2011 he was named one of Philadelphia’s “Creative Connectors.”

KATE WATSON-WALLACE is a choreographer and visual artist. She has received numerous awards for her choreography including: A Pew Fellowship in the Arts in Choreography, two Map Fund Grants and a Doris Duke Exploration grant through Creative Capital, multiple grants from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through Dance Advance, The PA Council on the Arts, The Independence Foundation and Penn PAT. She has choreographed music videos for: Black Dice and Animal Collective. Recent Commissions include: Ballet X, Hotel Monoco/Kimpton Hotels, RedBull Art-of-the-Can, and Meredith Rainey/Carbon Dance Theater. She co-directs anonymous bodies with Jaamil Kosoko. They have shown work at venues nationally, including: The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Joyce SoHo, Dance Theater Workshop, Dance Place, ODC Dance, Velocity Dance, Movement Research at Judson Church, and Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Kate creates site-based installation. Works include HOUSE, a performance for 15 audience members inside an abandoned row home, CAR, an audience for 4 audience members who sit inside a moving vehicle, STORE, a performance installation inside an abandoned mega-store, and Everywhere, a participatory on-line dance experience, and contest. She is currently creating Mash Up Body, a new installation under the Mentorship of Miguel Gutierrez that will premiere in Pittsburgh’s Kelly Strayhorn Theater in the spring, where she is in residence for the year.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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