yann chwen
dayung sampan.jpeg

Bio & Manifesto

 

Dance

Photo by Claudia Varela

Photo by Claudia Varela

Circles. Release. Water. Grounding. Inversions. Thanking the earth, ancestors and sky. Trusting the body’s wisdom to feel, uncover, remember and speak. These are the foundations of my dance practice. I am a body constantly in motion, a vessel for stories that need to emerge, a student of a lifelong dance practice.

I dance because my ancestors couldn’t. I dance to listen more clearly to my internal self and to be connected to our bigger world. In a society built on controlling people’s movements and bodies, being able to claim more agency over mine -- what I spend time on in my body, where I place my body, how my body takes up space --  is both a privilege and a political act. Through dance, I am constantly pushed to learn a more compassionate relationship with my body; to listen to embodied memory and knowledge; to acknowledge roots, appropriation, through lines and theft in our movements; to challenge and play with beauty and spectatorship; to repurpose space and stretch time. For me, dance is history, politics, physics, spirit, art, theatre and everything in between. If the theatre and proscenium stage were created to keep people out, to require permits for performances and delegitimise grassroots practices, I am committed to finding ways of imagining otherwise. Working outside the square. 

Photo by Jonathan Hsu

Photo by Jonathan Hsu

I have trained in both institutional and community-based settings, such as: open community classes in Boston, the Tufts University Dance Program, and on scholarship at intensives with/at the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Pilobolus and Urban Bush Women. In Boston, I was a company member with Danza Orgánica, a dance company that focuses on dance for social justice. I have facilitated and taught dance in various settings, including with children ages 3-12, university students and working adults.

Recently, I moved back home to Malaysia and relocated to Kuala Lumpur, where I am still landing. I am learning to listen, take my time and slowly sow seeds to eventually grow deeper roots here. If you are interested in moving together -- through a project, a class, a collaboration -- please reach out. I’d love to hear from you. 

Daily Practice