Five Questions With Choreographer Yin Yue
I met dancer/choreographer Yin Yue at some point after she was one of the finalists for the 2010 A.W.A.R.D. Show, and we’ve been friends ever since, Yin occasionally helping me navigate the unfamiliar world of Chinese dance influences. Her movement is in credibly precise and she brings a compelling sense of stage geometry to her group pieces. This week, her first full-length piece opens as part of the largely unbearable mishmash that is FringeNYC. But as always, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find a gem. Check out We Have Been Here Before at The New School for Drama Theater on Aug. 10, 11, 14, 15, & 17.
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?
I grew up in Shanghai, China, studied Chinese classical dance at Shanghai Dance School, then went to Shanghai Normal University for modern dance. After I graduated from college, I went on a search for a modern dance company in Shanghai. I contacted Jing Xing, director of Jin Xing Dance Theater, which was a pioneer of independent modern dance in China. She encouraged me to open my mind, to go out of China. So I decided to come to New York for my MFA in dance at Tisch. After I graduated from Tisch in 2008, I started choreographing and performing in New York City.
2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?
The biggest influence was a dance production titled Dark Matters by Crystal Pite, choreographer and director of Kidd Pivot, a contemporary dance company based in Canada.
3. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.
I work as a personal fitness trainer outside of dance. I usually wake up around 5:30 a.m. and work with a private client in her preferred location around 6:30 a.m., a session is an hour long. Then I will have second client a few hours after. In a packed day, I will train three to four people in one morning. However, it is about two in general. After that I spend time in the studio to work on my dance with my group. I sometimes have training session in the evening, however I prefer leaving it open for gathering with friends and relax.
4. Describe your new show We Have Been Here Before. What are the ideas you explored creating it, and what can audiences expect?
The work started on April 1st. we have been developing movement around the idea of past and present. The idea expands to something lost in the past, something gained in the present, and uncertainty for the unknown. We performed an except of the work at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out [in June], and after that performance, we refined many important moments of the piece and developed several new sections. The dance is very movement- and composition-focused, it doesn’t have a scripted story. I encourage audience to feel and imagine.
5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?
Yes. constantly… It is mostly based on logic, schedule, the importance of the events etc., etc. I quit my training job with Tracy Anderson Method, a celebrity private studio, last year to dance. I guess that answers your question. Right now I am working as a trainer independently, so I will try to schedule work and dance in advance separately, so they don’t conflict.