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Lewis J Whittington
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Prince Theater
United States
Philadelphia, PA

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers' Moment/s Inspires

by Lewis J Whittington
April 21, 2016
Prince Theater
1412 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 422-4580
Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers premiered new works and revisited a repertory classic for their spring home series, Moment/s, April 14-16 at the Prince Theater in Center City Philadelphia. The company has been performing at various locales around Philadelphia and adding new audiences to their already loyal following.

Choreographer Kun-Yang Lin also made this an occasion to showcase the range of his choreography. Many of Lin’s signature works are often imbued with Asian classicism and a choreographic fusion of East and West. In this program, he showcased those qualities plus other choreographic styles.

Lin's "Dreamscape" opened with dancer Brian Cordova in a dramatic entre solo, and then joined by the rest of the troupe, the dancers formed fluid geometric clusters and stunning dance noir stage pictures.

An interlude by dancer Helen Hale in a Chinese opera mask, green illuminated fingers and a skeletal body costume, created a haunting scene.

Then the curtain came up on Lin's "Moment/s" with the dancers costumed in street clothes walking around the stage, some locking into slow motion or reverse motion. The group movement of everyday life that Lin meditated on was highlighted by solos sections danced with riveting expressions of inner turmoil by dancers WeiWei Ma and Evalina Cain Carbonell.

Next, new company member Nikolai McKenzie performed a second untitled interlude crawling out from under the Prince Theater’s red stage curtain. The stage lighting dramatically hitting the contracted back muscles of his hunched torso with his legs bent perilously inward at the knee. In black dance trunks, McKenzie's torso oscillations, and limbs in extremis, were both beautiful and broke through any hint of grotesquery - Lin making a vital statement on the nobility, and inspiring power of the human body.

"Vertigo" finished the first section. For six dancers, it was a meditation on modern life knocking us off balance and our individual and private strategies to move through everyday chaos toward inner peace and resolve.

Lin collaborated directly with composer David Rhodes in developing the driving musical soundscape for the five-part first half of the program. In the April 16 performance, virtuoso Todd Reynolds played electric violin on top of the recorded tracks.

Next, Lin’s 2010 work “Autumn Skin,” expanded by Lin in this 2016 revision, was about the physical and emotional expressions of relationships. The full company set off in double-tempo, driving ensemble unison that splinteed, regrouped at the corners of the stage (reaching together for something) and then the dancers scrambled away into break out solos.

Later, Lui Mo and Brian Cordova had a dance of brotherhood or as lovers; they conveyed that they were working something out between them.

Dancers Cordova and Annielille Gavino Kollman were also having full on relationship drama as Kollman flew in Cordova's arms, but seconds later they were face-to-face expressing frustration and despair. Mo and Carbonell’s characters were also expressing relationship angst. Lin timed-them out long enough for Mo to flyover the stage with his signature explosive aerials.

“Autumn Skin” contained Lin’s signature movement meditations with dancers writing calligraphy on air and slow-motion sculpted group shapes that kept evolving.

Impressive also were new dancers Kollman, McKenzie and Grace Stern who fit right in with finely balanced nine-member troupe.
Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers in Kun-Yang Lin's 'Autumn Skin.'

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers in Kun-Yang Lin's "Autumn Skin."

Photo © & courtesy of RobLi Photography

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