Yan's collaborative work with The Mixtape Collective will be presented at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis on May 15-17, 2020. The MIXTAPE Collective seeks to create a platform for experienced Street/Hip Hop dance choreographers working towards the next level of their career.
Performed Feb. 28, 2020, at the University of Minnesota as part of the Cowles Artist Commission. A collaboration with musicians and UMN Dance Majors.
Funded by Humanities Without Walls in 2018, Dancing Upstream is a project reflecting "the work of the humanities in a changing climate." It employs musical elements of Sichuan Opera to create a work that embraces the style of this geographical area and combines them with contemporary aspects of modern music.
This work moves through a varying spectrum of Chinese and American values including choreography of internal reflection and contemplation enacted through movement to portray external societal dissonance. The dance piece seeks to convey a process of racialization and translation in my birth country, my journey to the U.S., and my new home country.
This piece is inspired by the Chinese poem Drinking Alone with the Moon.
"I sang. The moon encouraged me. I danced. My shadow tumbled after. As long as I knew, we were boon companions. And then I was drunk, and we lost one another."
Musical elements of this piece come from Guizhou, Southwest China, where I lived in a rural area for three weeks to study the Dong way of making music. The work is inspired by the way the Dong ethnic minority sing and play the Sheng, a wind instrument. Their folk music has recently been listed as an intangible cultural heritage in 2009 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. During my study there was no internet and very few 21st-century amenities. Singing and dancing are their entertainment. To me, this was a "raw" way of living. In this piece I did not use any extended techniques and wanted to bring their aesthetic to the stage. Archie was a beloved dog who passed to a good place when I finished this piece. I named this piece after him and like to think he is continuing his pure, cheerful life in heaven.