In 2015, Vancouver-based choreographer Wen Wei Wang lost his mother Ying Yun to ovarian cancer. A significant influence on becoming an artist, Wang dedicated his 2019 work, Ying Yun, to her memory.
Translating to “Hero Cloud” in Chinese, Ying Yun features an all-female troupe of dancers who worked with Wang to interpret his mother’s story and express their own inter-sectional experiences.
“Even though this might not be the first piece with an all-female cast, it is not very often that we see a dance piece that is about being a young female,” says dancer Daria Mikhaylyuk.
“While in the studio we might not verbally talk much about the issues of womanhood, the discussion seems to be always present in the physical material we are generating together.”
This new full-length dance piece is an extension of Wang’s first all-female performers’ creation, which began in 2017 for the Simon Fraser University School of the Contemporary Arts. In Ying Yun, Wang channels and melds his emotional association with his mother with Tai Chi elements, silence, and intentional breathing.
“I am asking myself questions about how to investigate deeper meaning in my work. In doing so, I want to be inclusive of the time and place in which I now live,” says Wang. “These questions are generally about who we are and who we really want to be in the future. Art is a unique and volatile part of our life that must continue to evolve with a clear reflection of contemporary values and attitudes.”
Live Art Dance presents Wen Wei Wang’s Ying Yun at the Spatz Theatre (1855 Trollope St, Halifax) on March 30. Visit liveartdance.ca for tickets and information.
A version of this article first appeared on Vancouver Presents on February 12, 2019.