Welcome to the sixth installment of the 2015 Quick Fact blog series. These posts aim to give you a bite-size overview of performances you’ll find at the Festival this season. Each post in the series includes who, what, when, where, and why. We’ll even throw in some photos and videos to sweeten the deal!


Shen Wei Dance Arts makes their fourth appearance at Spoleto Festival USA.


Shen Wei Dance Arts, 2011 Spoleto Festival USA, photo by William Struhs


Acclaimed artist Shen Wei wears many hats; painter, choreographer, designer, director, and dancer. In 2000 he founded Shen Wei Dance Arts and since then the company has performed in 138 cities, 30 countries, 5 continents, and has appeared at prestigious festivals and venues worldwide. This year they will bring two pieces to Spoleto Festival USA. The first, titled Map, was hailed as “. . . a brilliant, mesmerizing flow of invention” by The Boston Globe and called “. . . 40 minutes of sheer gorgeousness” by The Washington Post. The vigorous and whimsical choreography is set to music from Steve Reich’s The Desert Music. The second piece, which premiered at this year’s Art Basel Miami, features a dance created for the proscenium stage and includes Shen Wei’s recent series of large-scale abstract paintings.


College of Charleston Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street


Friday, June 5 at 8:00pm
Saturday, June 6 at 8:00pm
Sunday, June 7 at 1:00pm


Photo by Briana Blasko

Photo by Briana Blasko


Sara Bennett, Producing Assistant at SFUSA, talks about her life-changing experience with Shen Wei Dance Arts:

Shen Wei Dance Arts is the reason I wanted to work for Spoleto Festival USA. I had grown up training to be a ballet dancer from a very young age but as many dancers do, I ultimately decided to go to college. I was currently enrolled at the College of Charleston studying to be a Biology major but knew that there was something missing in my life. I went to my first Shen Wei Dance Arts performance during the 2007 Festival season.  I was a broke college student at the time so I could only pick one show to attend. I choose Shen Wei Dance Arts because I had never heard of them before. They performed Connect Transfer and I knew right then that I wanted to work for Spoleto Festival USA. The company was everything about dance and the arts that I loved so much: beautiful lines, beautiful technique, and beautiful concepts performed by some of the best dancers in the world. It was the first dance company in a long time that actually made me think about what I had just seen and I knew that I wanted to be a part of the organization that brought something so wonderful to Charleston. Shen Wei’s ability to create multi-disciplinary, collaborative productions that were so visually stunning changed my life. The next school year, I enrolled in arts management classes and the rest is history!

Excerpt from Shen Wei’s Connect Transfer

Tickets to Shen Wei Dance Arts and all other Festival performances are available online at spoletousa.org, over the phone at (843) 579-3100, and in person at the Charleston Visitor Center (375 Meeting Street).


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