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SMU's Meadows School of the Arts Premieres New Work by Choreographer Shen Wei
15 March 2012
DALLAS (SMU) — Dance, theater, and music students from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will perform the world premiere of Shen Wei’s multi-disciplinary work The New You from March 28-April 1 on the SMU campus in Dallas. Shen Wei, an internationally renowned choreographer, director, dancer, designer, and artistic director of New York-based Shen Wei Dance Arts, received the school’s Meadows Prize in 2010 and created The New You during his recent three-week Meadows Prize residency on campus.
“The goal of the Meadows Prize is to bring pioneering artists to Dallas that will challenge artistic conventions and, alongside our students, create groundbreaking works that will be a legacy for Dallas’s vibrant arts community,” said José Antonio Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. “Our students had the opportunity to work directly with Shen Wei during his residency and to become a part of his creative process. This piece breaks the boundaries of artistic disciplines and teaches our students how to engage with audiences to create an entirely different aesthetic experience.”
“The Meadows Prize residency gave me the freedom to explore new ideas and begin to develop a concept that will continue to evolve,” said Shen Wei. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to work with the talented Meadows students and to see their enthusiasm in bringing this work to life.”
The New You includes nine dancers, two musicians, two actors, two fine art students, and a computing-projection student—all of whom attend the Meadows School of the Arts. The work is divided into six sections and each section is structured around a code that begins with the numbers 0-30. In different sections, a number correlates to a location of the dancers’ bodies, a letter of the alphabet, the range of dimension within a dancer’s movement, a direction in space, or a different color. A highlight of the work includes a section in which the actors call out numbers that spell a dancer’s name, triggering the particular dancer to translate her own signature into a dance movement. The work culminates with a performance that references all of the previous sections and features dancers with iPod cameras affixed to their bodies that capture the array of movements and project them on the surrounding walls of the stage.
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