The UW-Madison Dance Department opens its 90th year with Jin-Wen Yu’s “WAVES” Sept. 15-17 at Lathrop Hall’s Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space.

The concert includes contemporary choreography from faculty artist Jin-Wen Yu and a solo work from Taiwanese guest artist Chien-Kuei Chang. The concert will open Thursday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m., followed by performances on Friday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. and two Saturday shows, a matinee at 2:30 p.m. and an evening show at 8 p.m.

Yu, a professor with the School of Education’s Dance Department, will grace the stage again in Lathrop Hall. His research, which during the past year has been abundant and productive, has inspired him to create and perform a new solo work titled “Late Winter,” a new duet “Fine without me/you?” and reset “Transit IV,” works which have been selected to be performed in the DUMBO Dance Festival at the end of September 2016 in New York, and which will underpin his upcoming Chicago concert in April 2017.

Jin-Wen Yu
Jin-Wen Yu

“It has been an exceptionally fruitful year,” Yu said about the creation of new choreography for this concert.

Yu, a recipient of Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship as well as the Vilas Life Cycle Professorship in 2016, has created seven new works and presented several works in New York City, Tokyo, and Puebla, Mexico.

“This upcoming academic year will also be plentiful for the Dance Department,” added Yu.

He described the many events which will take place over the department’s 90th anniversary year, including the first ever Regional High School Dance Festival (March 23-26, 2017) and the 90th Anniversary Celebration (April 26-30, 2017).

“WAVES” looks both back in time and forward to reveal Yu’s stylistic and aesthetic shifts. The concert will feature Yu’s award-winning gala concert works “Replay” (1996) and “First Fall” (1998) from the American College Dance Festival, as well as some of his newer choreographies — “Transit “ (2013) “It is You, and You, and You….” (2014) and “Water” (2016) which he has toured nationally and internationally over the last three years.

This concert balances Yu’s mature choreography — his three solos — one set on the exquisite Yun-Chen Liu, another on Collette Stewart, and finally on Yu himself – with the work of an emerging and dynamic guest choreographer from Taiwan. Chien-Kuei Chang, founder and choreographer of Taiwan’s Chang Dance Theater, is the recent guest artist in residence at the Dance Department will present “Mask,” a solo featuring the burgeoning Palmer Mathews, a senior Dance degree student at UW-Madison. Chang’s solo integrates intricate gestural movements  with exuberant dancing vocabularies, which is a fine demonstration of a popular trend in global contemporary dance. Chang has toured internationally and won awards for his work performing in Paris, Madrid, Miami, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taipei, and others. 

Tickets are $20 for the general public, and $15 for students and seniors. Advance tickets are available through Campus Arts Ticketing online at; in person at the Campus Arts Ticketing box office, first floor Memorial Union ; or by phone at 608-265-2787. Remaining tickets will be available at the door in Lathrop Hall one hour prior to the performance. All tickets are reserved seating.

Join the choreographers and the cast for a reception Friday, Sept. 16, immediately following the performance in the Virginia Harrison Parlor, Lathrop Hall. Refreshments will be served.

This year marks the Dance Department’s 90th. Under the leadership of dance pioneer Margaret H’Doubler, UW-Madison became the first university to offer a degree program in dance in 1926. The Dance Department’s season of events during this 2016-17 academic year, will be in celebration of this milestone. Season events will include dance concerts, alumni events and will feature special alumni guest artists in residence. Events for the department’s 90th year will be publicized throughout the 2016-17 academic year.

Support for this concert was made possible through funding from the UW-Madison Graduate School, the Vilas Life Cycle Professorship, the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship, the UW-Madison Dance Department, and Friends of Jin-Wen Yu Dance.