Aspiring artists out there trying their damndest to master just one art form may find it daunting to learn that Shen Wei Dance Arts director Shen Wei creates nearly every element of his company's productions -- movement, costumes, set design, the whole bit -- himself. It helps to know that the Hunan-born choreographer got his start in Chinese opera, which acknowledges few cut-and-dried distinctions among these conventions. Wei's reputation for melding dance and visual art into transporting tableaux owes much to that early training, though subsequent stints with Guangdong Modern Dance Co. -- the first of its kind in China -- and the Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab in New York have clearly tempered his considerable knack for spectacle.
The West Coast premiere of Map offers an atlas for gauging these influences on Wei's own process. Set to Steve Reich's "The Desert Music," it outlines seven "movement maps" Wei apparently uses to create the bulk of his choreography. Also on the program is Re- (Part I), inspired by his travels through Tibet and set to the forlorn mantras of an exiled nun. To punctuate the experience, check out the exhibition "Artists Consider the Dalai Lama" on view in the galleries through mid-March.
March 6-8, 8 p.m., 2008