yann chwen


Samples of site-specific dance, performance, choreography, dance films and more.


“Technology of the Circle,” Bates Dance Festival Finalé

July 2019 | Lewiston, Maine | performer

Photos by Jonathan Hsu and Kathryn Alter

An improvisational performance from our work in Technology of the Circle, a class co-taught by Onye Ozuzu and Qudus Onikeku. Course description:

“Technology of the Circle will explore the circle as a structure for improvised group interaction: the circle of playground fights and politics of Brazilian Capoeira, of Jazz music, of B-boying/B-girling, of club culture cyphering and battling, of the swirling interaction of Aikido’s uke and tori, and of a salsa couple. The circle as it functions in human, social engagements will emerge as a foundational and fluid tool for the crafting of layered, powerful individual and communal performance. As a group, we will investigate a corporeal investigation based in West African dance Philosophy, an embodied philosophy that manifests multiple physical expressions, creating dualities and oppositions; an intentional double consciousness. We will work with contemporary dance movement, singing, writing, storytelling and drawing in an integrated process toward a group performance of improvised sophistication.”


Site Specific Composition showing: Walls, Borders, Occupy Space

July 2019 | Durham, North Carolina | co-creator and performer

First photo by Ben McKeown

I spent the summer learning site-specific dance in a class co-taught by Nia Love and Samantha Speis. For our final class showings, each trio offered a durational performance at our sites, showing our process derived from thinking about walls, borders and occupying space. How do you ask a site permission to dance with it? How do you dance with a site and not just in it? What does it mean to have space when so many others in cages/prisons/concentration camps do not? This was my trio’s piece, created together with Anna Longenecker and Dominique. 


“What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?”

July 2019 | Durham, North Carolina | facilitator

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A site-specific piece about adulting and navigating systems of oppression, collaboratively created with and performed by Fateemah Saleem and Hana Huie. Performed at the informal student concert at the American Dance Festival 2019.


“Sanctuary” (dance film)

June 2019 | Durham, North Carolina | creator

A silly midnight response to the task of improvising in a space that’s a sanctuary in some way. Created as part of “Site Specific Composition” co-taught by Samantha Speis and Nia Love at the American Dance Festival 2019. 


“What’s Going On: Life, Love and Social Justice” by Vincent Thomas

April 2019 | Roxbury Community College, Boston, Massachusetts | Boston community dancer

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“With the transcendent music of Marvin Gaye as his lens, Vincent E. Thomas finds a reflection of our past in our world today. Taking inspiration from the inimitable protest song “What’s Going On” - with lyrics that are as profound today as they were in 1971 - Marvin Gaye’s insights into life, love and social justice are given fresh perspectives with choreography by Vincent E. Thomas, Ralph Glenmore and Sylvia Soumah.” 


“Unseen Forces” by Jenny Oliver and Amanda Graff, We Create Festival

April 2019 | Hibernian Hall, Boston, Massachusetts | performer

Photos by Ernesto Galan

A Horton technique and partner acrobatics piece “exploring the relationship between the forces of resistance and release in creating movement.”


“At the Pace of Dawn: Climate Change Trilogy” by Lynn Frederiksen

January 2019 | Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts | performer

“An evening of new music and dance at the intersection of environmental and personal dynamics.”


“A Walking Birthday” by Molly Hess

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December 2018 | Green Street Studios, Cambridge, Massachusetts | performer

A collaboratively created evening of dance and music that “examines identity, community, and relationships with sincerity but not too much seriousness,” where “cupcakes, slide whistles, glockenspiels, teacups, a ladder, gnomes, potatoes, yarn, and sprinkles will live side by side in choreographer Molly Hess’ chaotic and non-linear landscapes.”


“Projecto Melaza” Residency with Danza Orgánica

November 2018 | Andanza, San Juan, Puerto Rico | dancer

Professional photos by Jose Chico Sosa

“Melaza: Weaving stories/Melaza: Tejiendo historias” is a dance theater piece being created through a two-year process. It is a collaboration between Danza Orgánica, a Boston-based dance company, and a cohort of dancers based in Puerto Rico. Halfway through the process, the Boston company held a residency in Puerto Rico to continue building the work. Melaza explores the colonial relationship between PR and the USA, under the lens of the diasporic situation and the impact of Hurricane Maria.


“WayFinders” by Pampi/AbunDance

Photo by Matthia

Photo by Matthia

September 2018 | Boston, Massachusetts | performer

A ceremony of communal mourning at Fujiko Nakaya’s #FogxFlo installation at the Boston Emerald Necklace. 


“Ghost” (dance film)

July 2018 | Durham, North Carolina | videographer, editor

On Asian America, contradiction and in-betweenness. Created in collaboration with Maddy Mikami, based on the Asian American Tarot Cards by the Asian American Literary Review. 


“No Fear Girl, Free Yourself” (dance film)

July 2018 | Durham, North Carolina | videographer, editor

Created in collaboration with Dani Criss, based on an interview excerpt by Nina Simone.


“Among the Flowers” (dance film)

April 2018 | Medford, Massachusetts | performer

An improvised dance film, created in collaboration with Julie Doten during our final few days on our college campus before graduation. 


“Hello? Your Ancestors Are Calling”, Medford, Massachusetts

April 2018 | Medford, Massachusetts | choreographer


An all-people of colour dance project. Through dance, physical theatre, and art, we channel stories about ancestors, migration, histories, silences, resilience and our magic. This was my senior capstone for my Dance minor at Tufts University (Spring 2018), advised by Jenny Oliver.

“Progress” (dance film)

April 2017 | Medford, Massachusetts | videographer, editor

Based on "A Letter to My Sister, 25 Years Later" by Lisa Park -- a piece of writing about Asian American suicide and survival. Created in collaboration with Sam Pryor as our final project for "Dance on Camera" (Spring 2017) at Tufts University, under the instruction of Jaclyn Waguespack.