A note from Yvonne:
Prior to the pandemic, I neared completion of a new dance piece entitled Wéi, choreographed for five professional dancers – Johanna Bergfelt, Irvin Chow, Mairéad Filgate, Luke Garwood, and Kaitlin Standeven – that utilized a score (or set of directions) much like the one offered here. I planned to have our final set of rehearsals in July before premiering the performance over the summer. With this no longer possible due to COVID-19, I have decided to postpone our performances to next year, open up the process, and launch an initiative that gathers different interpretations of the score and assembles them into a collective video. The directions in the score, created with Luke Garwood and Mairéad Filgate, have been abbreviated and simplified for this new context, but retain the core value of pursuing connection with other people – an integral element of Wéi . Tasked with bringing together all the submissions, Irvin Chow will lend his video editing skills to create the culminating version of Wéi – in connection.
On the original work:
Wéi (成为) means to become or rather, becoming. This title is emblematic of the concept and construction of the piece, but also indicates the dynamic state the piece inhabits, by virtue of how it is built. I usually begin a work with one or two tiny seeds of a concept. In this case, the work was motivated initially by my desire to attain a deeper understanding of belonging. Yet as the exploration unfolded, its impetus shifted. I became preoccupied with two central questions: What makes us who we are? and How do we know when we become ourselves?
In the last few years, I’ve been drawn to writing choreographic scores. This has been influenced by my work and study with Stephanie Skura and Deborah Hay. When it came time to collaboratively create Wéi, I found myself gravitating towards this format.
The score functions almost like a computer program, establishing sets of conditional/contingent relationships between the dancers that allow me to test various hypotheses related to these questions. Instead of the findings manifesting as some form of data, they’re produced as abstract lyrical movement, my expression of the web-like nature of life and the journey of becoming.
Wéi (成为) is a quintet for creative collaborators Irvin Chow, Mairéad Filgate, Kaitlin Standeven, Johanna Bergfelt and Luke Garwood. It also features composer Nick Storring, costume designer Heather MacCrimmon, and Marie-Josée Chartier and Ginelle Chagnon, as my outside eyes.
Concept and reimagining by Yvonne Ng, Luke Garwood and Mairéad Filgate
Video Editing by Irvin Chow