Shen Wei is known as the principle choreographer behind the opening ceremony of Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics, but by then he was already a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Macarthur Foundation "Genius" Award, and widely celebrated as one of America's most prolific modern dance innovators. While Wei was born in Hunan during the Cultural Revolution and trained in classical Chinese Opera, it's almost impossible to imagine him working within such traditional constraints. However, his choreography and stage design, which often use paintings created by rushes of movement, wherein a stroke of color has an emotional or auditory correlation, have more in common with Chinese calligraphy than American action painting; and his "Natural Body Development" technique, which emphasizes breath, gravity, and visual focus, finds its roots in qigong. By using a dancers' individual chi to initiate movement, Wei's work has an air of constant... More >>>