What is the role movement plays in religious rituals? Can the artistic process create a safe space where the essences of different spiritual orientations can be revealed? Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (KYL/D) will mark its 10th Anniversary in Philadelphia by exploring those questions and more in their latest work, Faith Project/The Door. That exploration, which included work with multiple spiritual communities across the city will culminate in a World Premiere performance March 22-24 at Prince Theater. Ticket are $20-$40 and are available online at http://www.kyld.org or at the Prince Theater box office.Faith Project/The Door, choreographed by KYL/D Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin, features a sparse score and sound design by Composer/Sound Designer Cory Neale. Award-winning, multimedia designer Jared Mezzocchi has sat in rehearsals and designed projections that will interact with the dance artists. The piece is performed by the multi-ethnic, spiritually diverse KYL/D ensemble. This highly physical and still new work will contemplate the relationship between religious practice and contemporary dance.
For this new, abstract dance work, the company collaborated with noted scholar/philosopher/dancer Kimerer LaMothe, who works at the intersection of dance and religion and who has written extensively on how the body can be a vehicle for spiritual practice. LaMothe, who has been blogging about the story circles on Psychology Today, structured story circle conversations that the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia helped to organize with members of diverse faith communities. At each circle, LaMothe and the company explored different ideas. The circles used natural phenomena as a jumping off point for movement and to look at how people change within the movement. The circles also brought stimuli from different religions together (examples: Christian hymn singing, Muslim Call to Prayer, the sitting in silence of a Quaker Service, and the stories of a Santeria Priestess). The group found the divine in those moments and moved toward those similarities in dance. At those community events, participants engaged in physical improvisation and call and response activities with the artists involved in the project. This was designed as a creative incubator for the piece.
Within the exploration process, the community was introduced to Lin’s CHI Awareness Practice, a core artistic value and a foundation of the company’s training. CHI Awareness Practice is Lin’s framework for cultivation of the whole dancer and person, and it conceives of “CHI” as metaphor for the interdependencies of self, one’s community, and larger society. The embodied exercises of CHI Awareness Practice focus on movement in relation to breath and energy (“chi” in Mandarin), and can be easily adapted for community participants. Dancers often describe CHI Awareness as a spiritual practice: this project allowed Lin to test if it translates as “spiritual” to different believers.
Major support for Faith Project/The Door has been provided by The Pew Center or Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Temple University.
Want to learn more before the show? Join the artists for three open studio events at KYL/D’s studio in South Philly. Encounter. Discuss. Unravel the creative process. Thurs. February 15 @ 7:30pm, Sat. February 24th @ 3:00pm and Sat. March 10th @ 3:00pm. More info at: kyld.org/open-studio-series/
About Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers
Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers is a professional contemporary dance company located in South Philadelphia. Hailed for its superbly trained dancers and inventive choreography, the internationally-active KYL/D probes at the limits of national identity. Drawing upon Eastern philosophies while expanding the perimeter of contemporary dance, Artistic Director Lin’s zen-inspired practice of dance manifests in lush works of poetic sensibility that The New York Times says, “create and inhabit worlds of their own.” Lin draws upon multicultural insights from his ongoing research throughout Asia, creating a personal movement language that is an unexpected hybrid between Western and Eastern cultures, suffused with strong spiritual underpinnings. To learn more, visit: kyld.org
About Kun-Yang Lin
Kun-Yang Lin is founding Artistic Director of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (“KYLD”) & Co-Founder of KYL/D’s CHI Movement Arts Center in Philadelphia. Taiwan-born Lin is an artist-educator who dances in the spaces between East and West, the visible and invisible, innovation and tradition, the individual and collective. Among the primary impulses nourishing his artistry are Buddhist and Taoist world views and the internal energetic flows of many Eastern arts he has practiced over the years including tai chi, chi gong, calligraphy, meditation, and Chinese opera movement. These experiences are filtered through extensive training and performance experience across a broad range of contemporary dance techniques and improvisation practices, framed by ongoing cross-cultural research in dance as a medium for the integration of body, spirit, and mind. Lin’s journey as an immigrant navigates tensions between his traditional roots, his contemporary interests, and his embodied research, which informs his view of dance as a calling that transcends labels, shapes, and movement.
Before moving to the U.S in 1994, Lin toured internationally with London’s Transitions Dance Company, working with numerous post-modernist choreographers. In the U.S., Lin performed in iconic American modern dance companies including the Martha Graham Company and worked with post-modernist choreographers including Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Lynn Shapiro & Paula Josa-Jones. He has been called “an extraordinary dancer” (New York Times), “theatrical visionary…outstanding choreographer and compelling performer” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Lin has been on the faculty of The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, H.B. Actor’s Studio, Peridance International Dance Center and the Limon Institute and he offers master classes and workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad including Mexico, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Korea, Cambodia, and Taiwan. Currently, Lin is Professor of Dance at Temple University. Lin received his MFA from New York University’s Tisch School and his BFA from Taiwan National University of the Arts.
KYL/D’s Dance Artists:
Liu Mo, Evalina Carbonell, Weiwei Ma, Annielille Gavino, Nikolai McKenzie, Grace Stern, Keila Perez-Vega, Frank Leone, Francis Markocki, Kyan Namazi and Barbara Craig (apprentice)
Kimerer LaMothe: Scholar and Thought Partner
Learn more: kyld.org/kimerer-lamothe
Jared Mezzocchi: Multimedia Designer
Learn more: kyld.org/jared-mezzocchi
Cory Neale: Sound Designer/Composer
Learn more: kyld.org/cory-neale
The Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
Learn more: kyld.org/interfaith-center
Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers 2018 Home Season: Faith Project/The Door
Thursday March 22nd @ 8pm
Friday March 23rd @ 8pm
Saturday March 24th @ 2:30pm
Saturday March 24th @ 8pm
Prince Theater: 1412 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19102