Shen Wei, a visual artist as well as a choreographer, is masterful at creating striking visual images in his dances. Re- (Part II), created in response to the choreographer’s travels in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, seems to be organized primarily through a collection of isolated images, rather than any narrative through-line or specific statement about culture, as in Re- (Part III). Set against a backdrop dominated by a series of projected images—the detail of a carved wooden door, the chaos of branches and leaves from the jungle, an ancient tree, its roots spilling over the stone wall—the movement remains suggestive but abstract, swift flashes of illusion from these familiar bodies.
Line of dancers, linked, in the arch and swirl
of bold spirals, hewn from wood, from stone.
A syncopated swoop, a fluid calligraphy
Tracing the boundaries between line and curve.
Dappled with the soft pattern of light through leaves,
The women flit, swarm, vine, twist and creep,
A tangle of limbs.
In the harsh lighting, she is all ribs and legs and shadows.
Sinewy, contorted, like the roots of the ancient tree.
Other bodies spill forward in a slow melt and stretch,
Sinking headless, hardly human,
still sculptures glowing white and hard,
Nearly blinding in their brilliance.