I?m in the Chronicle today with a review of Shen Wei Dance Arts. I entered the theater skeptical about Shen?s ?The Rite of Spring? but exited a believer:
?Shen uses the two-piano reduction of Stravinsky’s score, played with spine-tingling physicality by Fazil Say (at one point he plucks the piano’s strings) and heard here recorded. The result is less bombastic than full orchestra but equally fearsome. The dancers shuffled with arms held rigidly by the sides in the focused manner of Chinese opera performers, charging the negative space like ionized atoms. At the first clashing chords, one dove into a somersault. The movements that followed were obsessed with the rotation of the joints, shoulders and hips torquing so that energy passed through like the crack of a whip. The dancers executed them with stark straight faces and incredible anatomical precision.
Shen’s gift for visual tension is unflagging. A limb-by-limb collapse became more desperate. When the full company began walking tight circles, each in their individual orbit, you thought the stage might explode from centrifugal force.?