Rambling thoughts on “Vice & Virtue”: A response by Timothy Tsang

Vice & Virtue presented by Yin He Dance

September 29th, 2018 at Links Hall (*)

Artistic Director: Angela Tam

Choreographers: Angela Tam, HuiYing Zhang (张慧颖), Ge Wang (王舸), Jim Han (韩瑾), and Yariana Baralt Torres.

 Promotional Image by Yin He Dance 

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“Vice & Virtue” is the first concert that Yin He Dance has produced. “Vice & Virtue,” what comes to mind is 三从四德. An outdated Chinese belief of how a woman/wife should behave. What does that suggest of the performance? Through program notes of the different pieces, and a brief post-show talk, it is said that the concert is strung together by experiences of different women figures at different stages in life.

First of all, I have to congratulate Angela Tam for founding a dance company, producing this concert, and bringing more Asian audience members into small theaters than usual!

The first piece, Electric. Wavy arms. Transitions. “Contemporary dance”. These are some notes a jotted down from this work. What contemporary dance is, is a separate discussion, but in the case of my notes, the movement from the performance resembles the so-called “contemporary dance” on TV.

龙儿. 儿戏, suggesting playfulness. Sword, suggesting risk.

桃夭. Performativity – through the eyes and focus. Another risk-taking piece, as it has 12 performers all fit within the small white box space of Links Hall.

I’m Fine. Bringing in guest artists Yariana & Maria. This piece was first seen in Breaking Grounds: Makers and Wreckers. This piece is a beautiful embodiment of anxiety. The struggles, agitation, and frustration, beautifully translated into movement without a sense of it being fake. I want to see more. I want to see it go further. I wasn’t satisfied, in a good way. The song choices were also very pleasant, and had me feeling impressed at how well the two songs blended together so well.

米兔(mi tu). Me too? Costumes?

Yin He Dance is promising. Angela Tam’s strength lies within her knowledge of Chinese dance and culture. She has a distinct vision on bringing Chinese dance into the contemporary world. I don’t think it’d be fair for me to comment on the strength of the program, as it is a program about womanhood with strong cultural influences. Overall, it raised questions for me, inspired me, and gave me hope.

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Timothy Tsang is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and arts administrator. He began his dance training in 2009 at The One Dance Studio in Shanghai, taking classes in hip hop, popping, locking, and waacking. Tim was first introduced to modern and ballet at Columbia College Chicago, where he earned his BA (’17) in dance, and minor in arts administration. During college, he performed in original works by Paige Cunningham-Calderella, Bob Eisen, and Stephanie Paul, as well as repertory of Merce Cunningham. In 2016, Tim was also commissioned by Columbia to choreograph for their Open House, and restaged twice. Tim began performing professionally, with Ardent Dance Company the same year. Since then, Tim has worked with South Chicago Dance Theatre, and performed in works by Krista Zozulia. Currently, Tim is dancing with Mordine & Co. Dance Theatre, serves as an assistant to Artistic Director with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, and is Communications person at Dance Center Evanston.

(*) PRJ is partnering with Links Hall to celebrate their 40th anniversary by providing a platform for artist-to-artist responses to the work that is presented as part of the Pay-the-40th-Forward season. Thank you, Links Hall, for all that you do for the dance and performance communities in Chicago. Congratulations on 40 years!

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