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Walker Art Center and the Minnesota Dance Alliance present

Forward Motion

Yen Lu Wong

June 19-20, 1987
McKnight Theater

Ceremonies of Anamorphosis

Conceived and choreographed by Yen Lu Wong

Written and Directed by Herbert Shore
Scenography and Masks by Francoise Gilot
Lighting by Toshiro Ogawa

Ceremony One

Beginnings are Born in Memory

1.All dark, all still...
2. Memory is the beginning...
I brought this emptied heart, these emptied hands, this body homeless...
3. Emergence...
Are we born again astride the grave?
4.And the earth again...
Earthlight...the stones so blue so calm the stones so calm...

Performed by Carrie Chan, Gail Gustafson, Donna Sternberg, Yen Lu Wong
Music by Earl Kim (from "Earthlight"), Mark Binder, Ronnie Engle
Costumes by Francoise Gilot, Julie Keller

Ceremony Two

Cicada Images, Moulting

1. Larva: The Cage...Memories of ancient voices.
"You", said the Caterpillar to Alice, "Who are you?" Which brought them back again to the beginning.
2. Chrysalis One: The Schoolgirl
Climb the mountain of knowledge, patience is a virtue...
3. Chrysalis Two: The Girl on the Calendar.
All I want are eyes like...
4. Chrysalis Three: Warrior Woman
Seeking you
In dark labyrinthian time.
Between the dream and the memory
Falls the shadow,
Between the sleep and the waking
Falls the dream...
5. Pupa: Metamorphosis with Landscape
Across the bridge of death,
Where all things originate,
In the dry places,
We begin to dream.
Where the rivers run sand
Something in us begins to flow...

Performed by Yen Lu Wong, Gail Gustafson, Carrie Chan
Music by Joel Spiegelman (specially commissioned for this work)
Costumes by Susan Nininger

Stage manager and administrative assistant for TNR: Jeffrey K. Hanson

Program Notes

Anamorphosis (from the Greek - a forming anew) 1. a distorted image, which, when viewed from a particular point or by reflection from a suitable mirror, appears regular and properly proportioned; 2. in Biology, a graduate change of form by evolution.

A metaphor may not look like that which it evokes, but through it, in meditation, the invisible becomes visible, and the dream, a reality.

Shi-Me is the name of the Japanese concept of binding and unbinding, knotting and unknotting, a pattern that permeates Japanese life and art. It is also the name of the festival of renewal, for binding and unbinding is itself a metaphor for the process of our lives, the never-ending process of being and becoming-creation, destruction and renewal- the ancient Chinese concept of the double helix and the modern scientific model of DNA.

Shi-me is about our constant search for new beginnings, the exploration of transformations, the emergence of new life out of the death and destruction of the old. The search begins with reliving memories, with reaching deeply into what we were and what we have been, until the past become as living presence. The search is sometimes a recapitulation, sometimes a revision, but always, a vision toward the unknown.

Beginnings are born in memory. In the midst of darkness, light persists. Spirit becomes substance and we find ourselves on a barren landscape, in the cold earthlight, laying out once more the pathways of our lives. We reach back, probing into our memories, calling up the moments, painfully, hesitantly, fearfully, tenderly - cradling a child in our arms, an accident of drowning, hunger, the bursting of a bomb - memories of what we as human beings have done to ourselves and to others, re-membering what was dis-membered, seeking to shape a way and make the earth ours once more. In the warm light then, beneath the gaze of our shaman mother, we lie upon the cloth of life she laid for us, and from it we spin a cocoon. From its warmth, form the directions of the four winds, we emerge to new beginnings. And find ourselves upon the earth again struggling anew.

Cicada Images, Moulting. Caged in the fragments of her life, she hears the creis of ancient voices, seeking to find her identity in the bits and pieces of her past. "Who are you?" The child of the Chinese nursery rhymes and game songs, the child of the church, frightened of hell and damnation, the young woman modeling herself on Caucasian beauty, reshaping her eyes. She emerges from the cage to relive her past incarnations - schoolgirl, calendar girl, warrior woman and finally a ceremony of birth in a landscape of past identities.


Beginnings Are Born in Memory was created in Residence at The Yellow Springs Institute for Contemporary Studies and the Arts. It was supported in part by a Choreographer's Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from Atlantic Richfield Foundation. The creation of Cicada Images, Moulting was made possible by a Choreographer's Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a grant from the Mobil Corporation and the generous support of Robert and Mary Estrin of New American Cinema.

Biographical Notes

Yen Lu Wong is co-founder and artistic director of TNR. Her movement theater work has played to enthusiastic audiences in Australia, Bali, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Spain as well as throughout the United States. She has received three Choreographer's Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mobil Corporation, the Arco Foundation and the Regents of the University of California. In 1985 she was honored with the Woman Warrior Award of the Asian Pacific Women's Network for outstanding achievement in the arts. She was among those featured in a special Olympics issue of Paris Vogue devoted to outstanding Southern Californians, and in an article about her in the Los Angeles Time Magazine, Bevis Hillier wrote that "Yen Lu Wong creates rituals for the 80's."