By Charles Dunst
As a student might know from his or her everflowing influx of emails, the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers were recently on campus a part of the Stephanie C. Davis Dance Residency.
At the request of my freshman preceptorial professor, I attended the dancers’ lecture and demonstration at the Henle Dance Pavilion on Oct. 23, 2014.
The choreographer, leader, artistic director and namesake of the company Kun-Yang Lin gave an extremely interesting talk about his work.
During the lecture demonstration, his dancers had the opportunity to perform some of their pieces.
Specifically, Lin previewed one of his dances by explaining its influence, one of which came from his personal life.
He described that one of the influences for his works was the fact that his parents never spoke the same language throughout their entire marriage.
Lin explained that his mother spoke Taiwanese while his father spoke Mandarin.
His mother was born and raised in Taiwan, while his father was a Chinese man who immigrated to Taiwan.
While he had immigrated, Lin’s father never learned Chinese, which left a profound influence on Lin.
Since neither parent ever learned the others’ language, Lin was led to understand the importance of communication through action and movement.
Lin explained that this understanding of the importance of action and movement as a communication tool helped him create some of his most successful, interesting and complex pieces.
Not only were the dances well-received by the intimatecrowd, but Lin allotted his dancers some time to discuss their dances as well as the methods used to achieve the final product.
The dancers all spoke English fluently, while Lin does not.
Lin speaks extremely goodEnglish, but hearing an explanation of the dances from native English speakers was very clarifying.
One of the main things I took away from the talk was the closeness and intimacy of the group.
For example, Lin’s dancers often described the company as a “family,” indicating that they were extremely close-knit, and this contributed to the strength of their performances.
While the dancers described themselves as a single unit, it is
important to note that this is not your typical dance company.
For example, when looking
at the Paul Taylor Dance Company, you expect to see certain type of person.
To clarify, there is a certain look within a Paul Taylor piece.
While the dancers may vary in race, the men look extremely muscular and masculine, while the women are expected to begraceful but muscular in their own way.
In the Kun-Yang Lin company, the dancers’ looks are diverse, ranging from an extremely muscular Asian man to a skinny black man, as well as a range of female body types, both white as well as Asian.
This diversity, unlike the looks of other companies, results in a “close-knit family.”
While Kun-Yang Lin’s dancers successfully convey a certain artistic vision and message, Lin has also created an exceedingly heterogenous family, which is an accomplishment within itself.