The Metropolitan Museum's First Site-Specific Dance Work
For the first time in its history, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will host a performance of a dance work choreographed specifically for one of its galleries. Shen Wei, the award-winning choreographer who choreographed the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, will create a site-specific dance inspired by the sculptures in The Charles Engelhard Court in the American Wing. The new work, which also features projections, will be set to electronic music by composer Daniel Burke of Illusion of Safety. Shen Wei and Austin Scarlett, a designer whose work spans the realms of theatre, high fashion, and television, will create the costumes for the performance.
The performances, part of The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Series, will take place on Monday, June 6, and Monday, June 13, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are priced at $60, $30 for standing room; for June 6, tickets that include a post-performance reception with Shen Wei and dancers are priced at $75 and $45, respectively. All tickets are available are available by calling the Concerts & Lectures Department at 212-570-3949, or visiting www.metmuseum.org/tickets, where updated schedules and programs are also available. Tickets include admission to the Museum on day of performance.
The events are part of the Metropolitan Museum Concerts series, which has, over its 57-year history, presented performances in many of the Museum's galleries. But this marks the first work created specifically for one of its spaces, and the works of art in it. Shen Wei envisions it as a coalescing of performance art and visual art, a marriage of sculpture and sculpture in motion. "I am looking forward to the experience of joining the beauty of bodies in stillness and the beauty of movement," he said. In addition, the sculptures – marble and bronze figurative works by such American master sculptors as Hiram Powers (1805–1873), Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), Harriet Whitney Frishmuth (1880–1980), and Paul Manship (1885–1966) – give Shen Wei the opportunity to create, as he puts it, "a piece celebrating the body in works of art of the past and the body in movement in the present."
The 60-minute program will feature this new work as well as a piece from the Shen Wei Dance Arts repertoire.
Hailed by the New York Times as "startlingly imaginative," Shen Wei Dance Arts creates interdisciplinary, cross-cultural performances. Each work develops an original dance vocabulary incorporating visual and storytelling elements from the theater, Chinese opera, Eastern philosophy, traditional and contemporary visual art, and sculpture. The result, at turns figurative and abstract, combines performance with strong scenic elements to create a "fascinating fantasy in movement" (Sydney Herald Sun).