Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (KYLD) premiered the MOMENT/s program in April 2016 at the Prince Theater in Philadelphia. The company unveiled three world premieres (MOMENT/s, Vertigo, and Dreamscape), each piece born of a collaboration with composer Daniel Rhode, commissioned by the New Music Ensemble of Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI).
Dreamscape investigates how individual perceptions can change societal actions both in a positive and negative way and examines how our individual backgrounds influence our world views. Vertigo relates to the unstableness of our world as we search to find safe spaces and common ground. Lastly, MOMENT/s explores objective and subjective sensations of time through our day-to-day existence.
The concert also featured a bold revision of KYLD’s acclaimed work, “Autumn Skin.” Renowned violinist, Todd Reynolds, one of the founding fathers of the hybrid-musician movement and co-founder of the quartet, Ethel, performed live.
With the premiere of Moment/s, we are literally taken on a whirlwind of fleeting moments in our everyday existence, challenging our very notions of time, space, relationships, tension, stillness and discovery. - Steve Weisz for The Dance Journal
HOME/ S. 9th St.
HOME/S. 9th St. references immigrant journeys, notions of “American-ness” and the meaning of “home”. Funded in part by PNC Arts Alive, this recent work is informed by the stories of diverse community members along Philadelphia’s famed South 9th Street corridor, where KYL/D’s dance center – CHI Movement Arts Center – is located. Original music for HOME/S. 9th St. was composed by Cory Neale.
Through HOME, Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin – himself an immigrant from Taiwan – and six members of the KYL/D ensemble worked with community engagement methodologies adapted from the practices of the acclaimed Cornerstone Theater Company of Los Angeles. Cornerstone’s co-founder provided on-site training to KYL/D stakeholders to engage artists and local residents in creative, communal dialogue. Through the creative process of “Home,” listening becomes a gesture of grace, a way to explore issues of social import, grapple with struggles for justice, and sow seeds for healing and community building through the arts.
Home/S. 9th St. is “poignant, full-bodied and relevant” Gregory King for The Dance Journal
BE/LONGING is inspired in part by visual artists Lygia Pape and Anish Kapoor, the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi, the metaphor of the labyrinth and mandala as a journey to our own light and Lin's latest movement research along the Bedog River in Indonesia. The months-long process of distilling these multicultural stimulants in the studio with the diverse and immensely talented team of KYL/D's dancers, and collaborating with mandala artist Tatiana Hassan, master puppet artist, Hua Hua Zhang, award-winning composer, Cory Neale, and lighting designer Stephen Petrilli have led to a work that explores our light and shadows and speaks to the individual and collective journey from gravity to grace.
Be/Longing is "successful in synthesizing both ethnographic and somatic strands of research—and in turning the results of this research into a stunning display of technique and artistry that transports the audience into another place, and ultimately into themselves." Kat Richter for The Dance Journal
ONE - Immortal Game
"All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything." - Swami Vivekananda
ONE is a contemporary ensemble work inspired by Kun-Yang's research into the Chinese Chess game as a metaphor for life. Exploring humankind's rituals surrounding the drive to win, "ONE" becomes a meditation on the journey from external division to internal oneness.
"Superbly trained dancers… thrilling… theatrical magic…" - Philadelphia Inquirer
"The athletic and sensuous movements of the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers are an impressive visual treat, but with this particular configuration, the language of their expression also overlaps with the worlds of mathematics, struggle, community and oneness..." - Knight Arts Foundation
"One was a true gift: smart choreography and an impassioned, athletic execution by a truly talented group of dancers." - Dance Journal
Symphony in D Minor/Sky Dance
Symphony in D Minor/Sky Dance is a collaborative project between Kun-Yang Lin and installation visual artists and sound artists at SkyBox Gallery. The epic-scale, interactive sculptural installation was curated by Eileen Tognini and created by New York artists, Patrick Gallagher and Chris Klapper at the SkyBox Gallery. In two rare solo performances, Kun-Yang Lin creates SKY DANCE, an improvisation work in response to the interactive sound and visual installation. Lin, whose Zen-inspired practice of dance manifests in abstract works of poetic sensibility, creates an experience of dance that unfolds moment-by-moment in conversation with the interactive installation.
"the solo, it was really beautiful. It felt, to me, like a consecration of the space in its present form....You became one with the sound and the pendulous movement of those wonderful interactive sculptures, controlling at times, giving over at others. So thank you for the performance tonight. It was special to behold." - Audience Member
Beyond the Bones (Revisited)
"If you attended the Painted Bride Art Center this past weekend, you could have been reborn... the acclaimed Philadelphia dance company Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers graced the stage at the Bride for an evocative performance that drew audience members into a physical and primal world, but one, which also hearkened to a very human spirituality and sense of unity." - Knight Arts Foundation
"Beyond the Bones" is an evening-length, interdisciplinary, contemporary dance, theater and performance work. While inspired by Kun-Yang Lin's witnessing of the events of September 11, the sudden passing of his father and his own brush with mortality, Beyond the Bones is a reflection on the generosity of spirit that springs from the midst of suffering. As the locus of our deepest feelings, the seat of our instincts as well as the armature for our public masks, our bones are thirsty to unite with the universal well that feeds our souls. Beyond technically demanding movement, beyond an inspired soundscape of Eastern and Western music and live vocals; beyond embodied mythologies of diverse cultures, "Beyond the Bones" is an adventure that "transports us back to the beginning of humanity and the wellspring of our beings," (Backstage Magazine).
Special guest artists include Rhonda Moore (founding member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company) performing a contemporary Indonesian mask solo; Janis Brenner, NYC's award-winning choreographer, vocalist and former member of Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble leading a chorale of university and community singers; and visual artist Alison Stigora, who will be creating a visual art installation of charred wood that cocoons the audience and performers within a sacred space.
"beautiful, stunning and evocative... Our need to connect and transcend is still ever present. What Kun-Yang does so well as a choreographer, artist and individual, is allow us through his artistry to view this need, making Beyond the Bones not only so moving spiritually but timeless as well." - Dance Journal
"Outstanding... groundbreaking, and original..." - World Journal
"a striking piece, portrayed a mystical journey. Symbolism, imagery, and exquisite technique carried the theme of art's healing power." - The Martha's Vineyard Times
"Grandeur, majesty, spiritual and very original" - ttimes.com.tw
Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle, community, unity, and connection. Mandalas appear throughout many different periods and cultures. In Eastern traditions, the mandala is a form of sacred art that depicts the totality of the self as well as the path to a more awakened state of being.
"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." - William Blake
Within the smallest grain, a blossoming plant lies dormant. Potential. Impermanence. Timelessness. Interdependence. All existence as we see it is void (Shunya). These notions have served as starting points for KYL/D's exploration of a spectrum of contemporary issues including negotiating cultural identity in a transforming, pluralistic society; learning through Nature and the Universe; experiencing transcendence in the most ordinary moments of daily life; enriching ourselves through practices that elevate the spirit. In Mandala Project, the dancers enter into conversation with the sacred form of the mandala, examining and challenging it through body, time, space and energy with reverence and wonder for the effects on the mind and spirit, experiencing and sharing the potential of dance as facilitator and inspiration for communication across artistic, generational, cultural and religious boundaries.
"like Eckhart Tolle in the body" - Audience Member
"a masterwork of art, spirituality, and stagecraft." - Philadelphia Inquirer
"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Autumn Skin resembles a dialogue between the self and others, conveying a simultaneous “listening” to our inner heart and outer world with an openness of sharing our similarities and differences.
A season of dynamic transitions, the work is suffused with the chaotic impulses of Nature's intricate dance of light and dark. Through the metaphor of Fall, Autumn Skin breaks open fixed notions of relationship, deconstructing emotion in order to uncover new meaning, new skin. Movement that shifts among bursts of explosive power, barely contained tension and absolute stillness emerges from the exploration of limits - emotional, physical and spiritual.
"The raw emotion and intensity embedded in the choreography gives access to the dancers' souls leaving the impression of knowing those six people far more deeply than just as performers after the lights go out." - South Philly Review
"A-U-M” a movement meditation to a mantra song cycle which just builds toward transcendence of the performer-audience dynamic. “A-U-M” yogic and tai chi movement tableaux, has such serene drive that you are not aware of time. The movement is meant to draw on the dancers’ skill and inner peace, to build the troupe’s communal strength in a frantic world. Its effect creates a hypnotic energy field for the dancers and, eventually, the audience.." - ballet.co.uk
This work explores the significance of "crossings", not just in the geographic sense but also from the perspective of the cultural, emotional, and personal developmental implications that life changes and transitions bring to everyone
The work contains six sections:
Emptiness of Snow
"Zen-inspired Emptiness of Snow, Lin's five disciplined dancers created an icy landscape that was actually anything but empty and static. Complex variety of speed, shape, and group configuration—dancers whipped and spun about by imagined wind and thrust to the floor, somehow always very neatly—gave this work a poetic sensibility." - The Village Voice
Traces of Brush
"Traces of Brush,” created and evoked movement from his dancers that was technical, poignant, and fiery — a statement supported by the expressive faces of the ensemble dancing his piece. Abstract and even seasoned with a hint of Butoh-esque nature, “Traces” pulled together the ideas surrounding the written symbols associated with language and how their meanings get communicated through authorship. In this work, the dancers were the abstract versions of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages. Explosive movement set apart through simultaneous solos, sporadic duets, and ever-changing trios, were that much more mesmerizing when the literal vocabulary was punctuated with commas, semi-colons, and exclamation points that came in the form of dead-on unison movements. Mr. Lin himself transcended his role outside of the work as choreographer by placing himself inside the work as author and inventor of meaning, a hat he wears very well." - The Martha’s Vineyard Times
"fine sensibility… Her manipulation of cloth, scurrying about, and curved poses conjured a ghost in a curiously sleek setting." - Sun-Sentinel
"The solo is a nuanced distillation of sorrow." - The New York Times
"Mr. Lin's eye for plotting and handsome thematic symmetry was evident in 'Chi'" - The New York Times
"A buoyant, radiant dance." - The New York Times
Shall We... ?
"An outstanding dance-theatre work that intelligently reveals the grotesque comedy of need, obsession, and addiction." - Back Stage
"Lin's work engaged us into why we dance, and had us laughing as we questioned the logic of all we saw and heard. What more can we ask from a choreographer? May many more contemporary dance-makers provoke us likewise in 2002." - Back Stage
From the Land of Lost Content
"One of the most seamlessly and powerfully executed dances I've seen.. A cohesive and powerful work...Particular talent" - Vineyard Gazette
"Powerful simplicity" - The New York Times
"Brilliantly constructed.. Musical accents are skillfully used. Lin combines a fresh approach to conventional craft with a commitment to contemporary social-consciousness." - Back Stage
"A post-postmodernist dance... This New York premiere built and pulled one in; it was effective and affective." - Ballet Review
"Deeply spiritual...remarkable..." - Dance Magazine
"A little Isadora Duncan and a little Butoh... this was choreography and performing that was simultaneously both lush and spare." - The New York Times
Ky Lin's Garden
"A spare, mysterious solo, slight but implacable looking." - Jennifer Dunning
"A coruscating solo. Mr. Lin is a master of form and balance." - Back Stage
"It's glamorous, ecstatic and sensual." - Performing Arts Review, Taiwan
"An interesting juxtaposition of Western dance and Chinese opera." - Sunday Star, Malaysia
Run Silent, Run Deep...
"a wrestling match between who both mortal and angelic." - Jennifer Dunning
Male & Female
"Powerful imagery... it's daring!" - Performing Arts Review, Taiwan