Face to Face
The Art of Decipherment
A simple hand, outstretched. Another hand, covering a face. What do they express? Fascinated by our new modes of virtual communication, Naishi Wang, a Toronto-based choreographer originally from China, drew inspiration from body language, emojis, and the rudiments of speech to create Face to Face. In this dense and captivating duet about the ambiguities of communication, the body becomes a key that opens endless windows.
Using hand gestures, rhythmic play, or simple embraces, Wang and his collaborator Lukas Malkowski, both superb performers, speak through movements. Sometimes mirroring the other, sometimes doing the opposite, their fluid or syncopated gestures are X-rays revealing volatile and impregnable states of being. A hymn to imperfect transmission, Face to Face depicts the ramifications of our relations to the world, to the other, and invites the audience to decrypt its secrets.
Produced by Naishi Wang
Created, choreographed and performed by Naishi Wang
Created with and performed by Lukas Malkowski
Outside Eye Ginelle Chagnon
Dramaturgy and Video Design Ivy Wang
Assistant for image art Henry Mak
Sound Design Wen Yang Ho
Lighting Design Chris Malkowski
Costume Design Adam X
Technical Director Emerson Kafarowski
Stage Manager A.J Morra
Management Dance Umbrella of Ontario
Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques + Citadel+Company (Toronto)
With the support of Conseil des arts du Canada + Ontario Arts Council + Toronto Arts Council + Goethe-Institut Montréal
Co-presented by La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines
Premiered at The Citadel, Toronto, on April 20, 2022
A Quebec première
Written by Elsa Pépin
Translated by David Dalgleish
About the artist
Naishi Wang (Toronto)
Naishi Wang has lived and worked in Toronto since entering The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 2004. He attracted the Festival TransAmériques’s attention through his involvement in Quebec choreographer Paul-André Fortier’s projects 15 X LA NUIT and Trois (Agora de la danse, 2017), among others.
An independent contemporary dance artist, Wang observes and studies the underlying motivations of the body’s movements and the emotions it conveys. Renowned for his exceptional improvisations, which he turns into incarnations of bodily meaning, Wang is also a practicing visual artist. His drawings, which take the form of dances on paper, echo his work in dance. As a dancer, he has worked with various artists and choreographers, including Peter Chin, D.A. Hoskins, Paul-André Fortier and Heidi Strauss. As a choreographer, he is currently working with Jean Abreu for a co-creation named Deciphers and collaborated with Christoph Winkler, a Berlin-based Tanztheater artist, on Can Asian Dance?, Crossing Half of China to Sleep With You, and Tale of the Dragon and Lion.
Part of the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) program in February 2019 and also presented in Halifax and Hamburg, his solo show Taking Breath demonstrated his interest in intimate forms of bodily communication, a subject he takes up again in the duet Face to Face. For this creation, he focused on our new modes of virtual communication and the factors that act in concert to convey our intentions in even the simplest exchanges. His next creation, a collaboration with Claudia Chan Tak entitled Double Tigers, will be presented at the Festival Accès Asie. The two artists will unpack their Chinese cultural baggage and explore how the Chinese conception of the body influences their movements.
“Daringly performed without music, the story was as heart-breaking as it was inventive with Wang using his body and voice to bring the audience into his personal experience.”
Raymond Helkio, The Buzz mag, à propos de Alone together