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artists series Lincoln Center - Shen Wei - KLAUS LUCKA photographer
Opera Director, performer


Shen Wei
Shen Wei Dance Arts

Sheri Wei (Artistic Director and Choreographer) Choreographer, dancer, painter and designer, Shen Wei was born in Hunan, China. He studied Chinese opera from the age of nine. From 1984-1989, he worked with the Hunan State Xian Opera Company. From 1991-1994, he was an original member-dancer and choreographer of the Guangdong Modem Dance Company, the first such modem dance company in China, with which Wei moved to New York City in 1995.

Prior to forming Shen Wei Dance Arts in 2000, his work was presentedat the American Dance Festval (1995), National Theater of Taiwan (1996), The Palace Theater in London (1997), The Asia Society in New York (1997), Stockholm Dance House (1999), Brighton Arts Festival (2000), the Edinburgh Festival Theater (2000), and the German Millenium Moves Festival (2000). As a guest artist he performed in four works by Martha Clarke.

For the past seven years, Shen Wei Dance Arts has toured throughout the United States and Western Europe, and in Australia, Israel and Singapore. For each dance and opera work choreographed for his company, Shen Wei creates the sets, costumes and make-up designs. The New York Times described Shen Wei's vision as "painterly, mathematical and idiosyncratic... This is imagery and conceptualism with a difference".

He has received numerous awards. In China, he won first prize for both choreography and performance at the 1994 Inaugural National Modem Dance Competition. In the United States, he received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2000, and in that same year the the Amercian Dance Festival's Ben Sommer Fellowship. Her received a John Simon Guggenhiem Fellowship in 2001, the Nijinsky Award for Emerging Choreographer in 2004, Australia's 2005 Helpmann Award for Best Ballet or Dance Work, and the 2006 Les Etoiles de Ballet, Palais des Festival, in Cannes, France. He has received eight commissions from the Amercian Dance Festival (1995, 3000-2006), Het Muziektheater Amsterdam (2004 and 2007), Lincoln Center Festival (2005), the John F. Kennedy Cerner for the Performing Arts (2007), New York City Opera (2005), Alvin Ailey Dance Theater II, Dances We Dance Company of Hawaii, the Margrit Mondavi Center for Performing Arts at the University of California, Davis, and the Guangdong Modern Dance Company.

As a visual artist independent of the dance company, Shen Wei is a painter, designer and filmmaker. His paintings have been exhibited in New York and Hong Kong; a series of paintings created in conjunction with his ballet Rite of Spring were first exhibited as part of the company's New York debut at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2003.ln October, 2006, the paintings toured with the company at the Hong Kong New Vision Festival, and in July 2007 they returned to the New York State Theater in tandem with the company's performance there of Second Visit to the Empress as part of the Lincoln Center Festival.


© 2008 Klaus Lucka