Jiali Wang is the founder, artistic director and choreographer of 7Midnights Physical Research. She is an award-winning dance artist currently based in New York, New York. In 2018, Wang started the program of 7MPR Themed Dance Theater and opened the second program, 7MPR Themed Cultural Dance Collective in 2019 for NYC cultural dance events, NYC Dance Parade& Festival. Jiali attended and presented her duet, Journal, at ACDA 2016, then receiving a scholarship from American Dance Festival and performed Footprints work “Walk” choreographed by Vanessa Voskuil.
In 2017, Wang presented her thesis work, Inside7, at Mark Morris Dance Center; another work, A Clock Chaos, at CBG Dance Festival. In 2018, her work, Garden1-Looking for Luke, was performed at AOS Performance Party, Sans Limites Movement Festival, and Fertile Ground New Works Series. Meanwhile, she presented solo, Someone Else, Somewhere Else, at Translate-Voice of Dance. From 2017 to present she has been working for New York Chines Cultural Center as a cultural dance choreographer, instructor and dancer. Meanwhile, from 2018 to 2019, Wang worked for An Nuo Spiritual Dance Art as assistant artistic director, trainer and dancer and attended the 7th Booking Dance Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
How did you come to be the founder of this performance series?
Actually, the idea of 7Midnights Physical Research started during my thesis year in college from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017. After American Dance Festival 2016, I began to write my thesis in Fall semester. During ADF, there was a shooting case happened and this lead to most of the black students stopped taking classes. Then, some of ADF teachers start to host a discussion during technique classes. I was inspired by my ADF teacher, Jesse Zaritt, because he mentioned the 7 social issues: class, education, ability, sexuality, race, age, and gender, to us in his class and talked about many things relating to dance and society, which emphasized the important relationship between dance and society. Another dance artist, Vanessa Voskuil, is the footprint choreographer. I cast in her piece and talked about dance and perception with her. Both of the artists inspired me to start my thesis. I have to say ADF was a great time to do my thesis research there with all the information and inspiration.
My thesis focuses on human perception and dance theatre, based on my interest of the diverse forms of dance including behaviour art and drama in dance theatre. As I have been observing, dance theatre exactly reflects artists’ perception, thinking, and psychological activity with its form of arts, aesthetics, notions, and even the concept of anti-aesthetics. By watching some dances online like DV8 Physical Theater’s Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men, as my thesis writing resources, all the works emphasize the perception from choreographers’ real experience in relation to different social issues with deep and strong criticisms about human right and social justice. With my personal experiences, I was inspired to rethink about the 7 social issues that my ADF instructor mentioned in the discussion class. Then, the 7 social issues become a part of my thesis writing and also become the theme of my thesis dance work.
In fact, the first rehearsal in relation to 7Midnights Physical Research was in February 2017. The title of my thesis work is, Inside 7, and there were 7 dancers in this piece including myself. This piece represents the dark side of human being as the metaphor of 7 Deadly Sins reflected by the 7 social issues: class, education, ability, sexuality, race, age and gender. The first performance was in March and April 2017 at Hartwell Theater at my college. Then, it was selected to perform in Brockport Alumni Performance in NYC in July after I graduated. After the performance in NYC, I started my dance company, 7Midnights Physical Research, in Fall 2017, but at that time, it was just merely a dance group doing different performances in the NYC.
Naturally, I found it was not enough to just be a choreographer, teacher and dancer to run 7MPR as a non-profit dance company, because there will be many possibilities that can be built up based on the concept and meaning of 7Midnights Physical Research. Therefore, I started to think and came up with the idea of 7MPR Themed Dance Theater Program in Fall 2018. I decided to hold 7 performances for every year which emphasizes the theme and philosophy of 7Midnights Physical Research. So 7MPR has existed for 2 years since I was doing my thesis in 2017. As a newborn non-profit dance organization, it is still developing and growing.
About the performance space and those artists joining the project. I got to know Arts On Site, because I am rehearsing at their studios and I found they are holding Performance Party, as a monthly dance event there, so I got the chance to premiere my new piece with my dancers at AOS in March 2018. I love to dance surrounded by an audience, in this way, I can more or less interact with people when they are watching you, and feeling each other, so I brought out the idea of 7MPR Themed Dance Theater program and talked to the co-director of AOS, Kyle Netzeband, about my thinking and purpose. He really supports my idea and started the cooperation with me in Fall 2018. I posted the application information on the page of Dance NYC online and received many applicants applying for our midnight performances, they are all NYC freelance choreographers and dancers who have unique thinking of dance and movement, and wonderful dance backgrounds.
The First Midnight Performance of 7MPR Themed Dance Theater had 10 choreographers including me, which took place on February 23, 2019. Tickets sold out and everything ran smoothly. The first step was a success. Then, we opened the application for the Second Midnight Performance for April 26. This time, we selected 10 dance artists including me again and added some creative parts for this show of April 26. Such as: an Opening Dance-7MPR Themed Dance and a Finale 7MPR Themed Dance with all choreographers and dancers to do improving choreography dance. I have to say, I love to meet these different and talented choreographers and see their wonderful works and beautiful bodies moving in the space.
We name every theme of social issues for 7MPR Themed Dance Theater Performances
“Dark Lip”- Gender
“Falling Apple”- Sexuality
“Milk Bottle”- Education
“Moon Coin”- Class
“Cloud Balloon”- Ability
“Gray Bubble”- Race
“Tiny Wings”- Age
What is the Purpose of 7Midnights Physical Research?
My purpose for 7Midnights Physical Research is to collaborate with Judson Memorial Church in the future for some special dance event in order to provide more opportunities to NYC dance artists to express their unique thinking of dance with the 7 social issues, and share their voice through dance and their critical thinking of human right and social justice. We hope to get financial support from NYC arts organizations and foundations in the future, so we can start our education program for public and dance residency as soon as possible.
”7MPR Themed Cultural Dance Collective” recently kicked off the second project with NYC Dance Parade. The project is focusing on bringing cultural dances to the world. 7MPR was one of the 25 representatives at Circle Dance (Native American Dance) Opening Dance. Circle Dance advocates the special meaning of the Immigration Rights, Greg Miller (Dance Parade’s executive director), said: “This year we’re looking at Immigrant rights and countering a lot of negativity about walls and immigration and closing the border.” “When we honour Native American Dance, we acknowledge that we are all immigrants.”
Also, Jiali Wang’s local cultural dance – a Chinese teapot dance “The Tea Master”, was selected to perform on the Main Stage for Dance Parade & Fest at Tompkins Square Park. Be sure to check them out!