by Jessica Warchal-King for The Dance Journal
When did you last STOP?
When did you last take a moment to REFLECT?
In the dance world, and in the life-world, we are constantly going and when one project ends we’re onto the next one and then something else happens and we never quite have the time to process what happened in the past or where we’re going with the next step in whatever process we’re trying to fulfill and sometimes we’re not even sure what that fulfillment means but we’re trying to keep up with the times and… (that’s a long enough run on sentence. You get my point.)
Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (KYL/D) is preparing for our performance at Prince Theater April 14-16th. We’re deep in the running of the work and the imprinting of the work into our mind and bodies and fully embodying the intention. We’re IN IT. And then (in my non-KYL/D time, when I’m doing a million other things), I get a group email from Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin challenging us to reflect on the process and the performance.
Kun-Yang asks, “What is special about this concert? What is special about being a KYL/D artist?”
A tool for marketing, perhaps, but more than that, Kun-Yang is asking us to take a step back and reflect on the journey and decisions we’ve made as artists – to embark on the journey of the 2015-2016 season, but also to embark on the journey of being a fully embodied, aware, individual artist.
He writes to us in the space when we are away from the studio and the process, perhaps because in the studio, we are too present, too aware of the demands of performance. But, in the ensuing days and rehearsals, he also allows us space to process the experiences. He doesn’t demand that we journal or free-write, but he creates space during the rehearsal for us to converse, individually focus, or simply be present (or not, if we choose).
In that space and in their/our own words, the dancers verbalize what they/we experience non-verbally:
|“’Dancing is silent poetry.’ – Simonides. The whole show is like poetry. Like poetry, we make abstract imageries of fragments of our lives. Working as a KYL/D artist keeps me in a process that goes beyond movement exhibition. The process keeps me as artist to be in the practice of being present, to be in the practice of truth and integrity in order for the work to come to life. As an artist, we too leave with those feelings of reflecting, discovery, questioning and inspiration.”
–Annielille Gavino Kollman
|“What first drew me to KYL/D was the diverse range of movement. Class starts off exploring movement through improvisation and by the end you are doing challenging, detailed, dynamic filled movement. At face value, one would not see how the more experimental movement fits next to the precision at the end of class, but there is a through line. This underlying connection is something that intrigues me about KYL/D. Not only does one perceive it in the dance but it is a value found also in the dancers. We are a range of different ages, backgrounds, countries, ideology…etc. Yet Kun-Yang has brought us all together. For me being a Christian this type of community is close to my heart and reminds me of how heaven is described in the Bible…”a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelations 6:9). Kun-Yang encourages us to keep our distinctions, our individuality while still connecting us all.” -Grace Stern|
|“Each spring, the earth awakens from her slumber and explodes into new life. KYL/D’s home season at Prince Theater this April embodies the season’s spirit of phenomenal renewal. We are welcoming incredible new artists to the team, breathing new life into company repertoire, and premiering three new works. We will be building dreamscapes, putting the magnifying glass to the moments which touch us as humans, whirling and spiraling into gravity, and shedding our cold weather skins. The dances we are presenting will speak to the viewers, not only as audience members, but as humans. The most incredible aspects of working with KYL/D are right there in the company’s name: Kun-Yang Lin, and the Dancers. Our Artistic Director, Kun-Yang, is the force that pulled us all together. He gives us the freedom to express ourselves as individuals, and uses his expert eye to elevate that expression and unify it under the umbrella of his vision. Each project we embark upon is full of discovery, as he pushes us to dig deeper. The company always looks fresh, because we are constantly inspired to find new sides of our craft. The dancers who call KYL/D home are, on the surface, as diverse as one could imagine. Each person I work with has a different set of physical qualities, and artistic talents: beautiful, but seemingly mis-matched. We are united in our energetic awareness, our intention, and our desire to communicate.”
-Evalina “Wally” Carbonell
|“Every time we rehearse Autumn Skin I realize the ways that the piece provides a space in which I, too, from the inside, experience its transformational capacity. I discover again, as an artist, as a person, that regardless of the season, there is always, always the need to let go what is old and step into what is new–always more shedding to do. Autumn Skin invites me into that process. With each embodiment of the work something shifts, something deepens, within the choreography, with the group of dancers, within myself, such that at this juncture, I feel that I will go on stage to perform this work a slightly different person than the one who entered the studio process months ago. It’s such a gift to see my fellow company members find themselves, also, in the dance, and thus to see the dance find its new life. Autumn Skin is a repertory piece, which we are bringing back to the stage after a period of hibernation, and experiencing Kun-Yang listen to the piece and to the company, and to navigate what to keep, what to let go, and how to manifest the message within this incarnation of the dance, has been a rich and resonant process, the results of which I so look forward to sharing with our audiences at the Prince.” –Helen Hale|
|“This concert is not only a visual feast, but also embody some different ways to express imagination and emotion through each piece. KYL/D keep a unique style, at the same time, continuously explore new way using body. We will bring new music, new pieces and new experience in this spring. Working with our artistic director, Kun-Yang Lin, I got a lot of inspiration. He guide us find our own voice and unique ourselves. He builds the big family- KYL/D. All of us put more emotion and passion in KYL/D and our dance.”
–Wei Wei Ma
Personally, this performance feels like a culmination of my past and an explosion into something new. I’ve grown so much as a person and as an artist over the past few years and I carry my reflections and maturity into this new work. I have a deeper understanding of the intention of KYL/D’s CHI Awareness Technique. This has bled into my other dancing lives and I have a more nuanced understanding of my relationships and how I embody them. I feel as though the past few months, especially, have allowed me the time and space to shed my own skin and walk into a new path of becoming. Additionally, I’m grateful for the amount of TIME we’ve had with each of these pieces over the past year. This practice of returning to the movement over time has allowed me become more aware of my own body in space, my breath in relationship to the other dancers, my own use of energy and tension, and the relationships I can create between the space and the audience.
I look forward to seeing you at the Prince Theater and reflecting with you, after the performance! – Jessica Warchal-King
Kun Yang-Lin / Dancers
Thursday, April 14 at 8pm
Friday, April 15 at 8pm
Saturday, April 16 at 2:30pm *
Saturday, April 16 at 8pm
Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
Information and Tickets: http://princetheater.org/events/kun-yang-lin-dancers
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