At the start of his “Summer Pavilion,” H.T. Chen, self-declared “worry-ographer,” seems to be everywhere—greeting guests, proffering tiny cups of wine, appearing to make a door slide closed with a magical wave of his hand. But since Chen can’t be everywhere, he created dancers. From the totally traditional Pie-Shan Fan Dance to the totally wacky Palette, they never let you see how hard they work. But you will gaze on them and think of massive currents of wind or huge, turning gears (Transparent Hinges) or majestic lion dancers cresting and lunging to frighten away all evil (Symmetry). Only ice skates could make personable Mariko Ando and Chellamar J. Bernard’s smooth, giddy duet (in Remy Charlip’s 39 Chinese Attitudes) soar higher or faster. Blending familiar modern-dance technique with Chinese and Chinese American influences, the company presents shapely and expressive choreography, colorful costumes, humor, and humanism with broad audience appeal. Filmmaker Don Quinn Kelley’s warm tribute to Chen, his wife and artistic partner Dian Dong, and their troupe completes this delightful 25th anniversary program.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 13, 2004