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Shen Wei in Syracuse: Olympic choreographer's residency will be a template

Shen Wei started the first section of the dance triptych that his company worked on here in 2006. "Re -- (I, II, III)" is based on his travels to Tibet, along China's Silk Road and to Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple ruins. During the Syracuse residency the company refined Part II and began creating Part III. "Re" has its world premiere in June at the annual American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. In July it goes to New York City's Lincoln Center, where Shen Wei began a five-year residency in 2007. SWDA returns to perform the full production, with sets, costumes, and a commissioned musical score by David Langley, on September 24 and 25 at the Landmark Theater.

Usually the two performances are all a city gets. Instead, next fall Syracuse will welcome back a company the community adopted for three weeks and interacted with deeply and often. Out of the Shen Wei long-term residency, Central New York got some specific, measurable things: more than 20 public events, including master classes and workshops with local dance studios, schools from Danforth Middle School to Manlius Pebble Hill, to projects with SU's Maxwell School, Newhouse School and Honors Program, and a range of community and educational partners large and small. Shen Wei delivered the 2009 Milton Lecture in Hendricks Chapel. The Syracuse public schools got a newly developed K-12 dance curriculum. A meeting with local families of kids born in China generated discussion of ways involving dance to keep their heritage alive. Even the September Landmark performances will be accompanied by an event related to cultural diplomacy, in collaboration with SU's Maxwell School.

More profoundly, we got the concept of "long-term residency."

Students pursuing dance as career and those who dance for fun, even some wrestlers at Danforth -- all got a chance.

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