Kun-Yang Lin Dancers

The Chi Movement Center, 1316 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA
April 26, 2008

A Review

I went to Philadelphia (lured there by the fact that two Nikolais-related people, Virginia Dillon and Steven Vendola, are on the board) to the opening of Kun-Yang Lin’s new studio, The Chi Movement Center at 1316 S. 9th Street. The space is a renovated garage with white walls, sprung maple floor, and room for sixty-odd audience members—a good performing space. Representatives of the State and City government, various local arts organizations (including the Taipei Cultural Center, NYC) and friends and aficionados from near and far attended the event.

After a welcoming speech by company executive Ken Metzner, we were treated to a dance program, with choreography by Kun-Yang Lin. The first solo, Moon Dance, performed by Jennifer Rose, I found unimpressive, both in choreography and performance. The only possible relation to Moon seemed to be the flowing white costume. But the second solo, Dedication, composed by Kun-Yang after his father’s death, was magnificent in both motion and execution.

The full company work, Excerpt of From the Land of Lost Content, which followed, seemed somewhat contrived in composition and mechanical in execution. But then a duet, II, Compassion, danced by Jillian Harris and Kun-Yang Lin, revived me. Both dancers are resonant in the motion. The dance has interesting movement progression. The sensitive execution was truly a good conclusion to the event.

“Light Asian Delights” plus cookies from Mother and Grandmother’s kitchens were served following the program.

So this event was mixed. The studio itself is a fine addition to the resurgence of the neighborhood. The choreography, when it comes from a physical/emotional source is impelling, but it fails when it seems to be “made to make a dance.” The dancers-all are competent, but both Jillian Harris and Kun-Yang Lin, given “felt” choreography, are truly fine.

Of note: Kun Yang Lin has also danced with Janis Brenner. Both Steven Vendola and Virgina (Laidlaw Chu) Dillon are members of the company’s board of directors.

—Ruth Grauert, April 27, 2008