NYC based dancer Jiali Wang thinks that dance may be the way for many of us to find some common ground and understanding in our lives. As proactive artists go, Jiali Wang is something of an enigma. She’s vocal without being vocal and promotes awareness without expressing it in a domineering manner. This dancer/choreographer lauded for her work in New York City has taken up the banner of true artists in not only presenting her creativity but giving other artists a podium with which to do the same. With her highly praised 7MPR Themed Dance Theater and 7MPR Themed Cultural Dance Collective she has amassed a group of contemporary acclaimed dancers and choreographers who deliver their take on societies pitfalls in a highly positive manner, something sorely lacking in much of society’s approach to disagreement. Wang is far from the stereotype of a high-brow artist who believes in the exclusivity of her vocation, as proven by her work with a number of outreach dance promotion groups and events. In terms of her past body of work and upcoming endeavors, Jiali continually sets herself apart by talent as well as vision. Change is hard for anyone to achieve; being the catalyst for a change that is not purely focused inward is infinitely more difficult. Resistance and hard work has never been a deterrent for an artist as aware as Jiali Wang.
Growing up in China as the daughter of two artists (traditionally trained folk musicians), it seemed that Jiali was destined for creative endeavors, which she was. She broke with tradition after watching the American filmBathing Beauty and becoming enamored of the dance in it. At nine-years-old she was accepted into the Sichuan Dance Academy. Though trained in Chinese dance, that initial exposure to American film would eventually lead her to New York City. There she immersed herself in a variety of styles and influences, eventually reflecting those back to the community and influencing others with the creation of the 7MPR Themed Dance Theater and 7MPR Themed Cultural Dance Collective. The foundation of these is social interaction and artistic expression among both consummate professionals and the general population. The 7MPR Themed Dance Theater has received great acclaim for its series of productions based around modern social issues while the Dance Collective continually interacts with multiple generations in a community building the educational process.
Once great success has been achieved, the path seems obvious to everyone. The key difference is that it takes a leader with foresight to perceive this great potential. Phones have been common for well over a century but Steve Jobs saw the possibilities we all take for granted. History is populated with examples like this but they are rarely based on a ‘feeling.’ Artists like Wang are motivated by expression and enabling others to experience this as well, not simply by profit. Their currency is the continuation of their art form and the ability to perform. Instead of hording this attention for herself, Jiali is on a mission to “spread the wealth” with the public. Not content to rest on her laurels, a number of events vet her contributions. Jiali has coordinated the Chinese dance groups under her direction for inclusion in the 2019 NYC Dance Parade & Festival. As New York’s largest dance event featuring ten-thousand dancers who present more than eighty dance styles, this is the world’s largest display of cultural diversity. In addition to her work as artistic director and choreographer, Wang will perform Chinese teapot dance “The Tea Master”May 18thon the main stage. This event brings out the artistic leaders of the community as well as those who appreciate dance and music. Past participants have included Danny Tenaglia (Grammy nominated producer and DJ), and others award-winning artists. At the Lotus Music and Dance Festival, Jiali’s7MPR Themed Cultural Dance Collective will perform alongside other cultural dance groups from India, Africa, and Russia. 7MPR Visual Dance & Music Festival will host its very own event as well this year, mixing performance with musicians, visual artists, and dance artists from East and West.
Dance has its own cultural DNA yet is universal. Elements of different styles are represented in a variety of cultures. All over the world, we are moved to dance. It is imprinted within us. Jiali Wang understands that exposure to other dance cultures is a bridge to understanding and appreciating other people. America is based on the inclusion of people from various points of origin. This is our very foundation. The cultural relevance of dance programs like Soul Train and American Bandstand tells us as much about the history of these times as the need for the youth to express themselves. We are more consumed with dance more than ever in the Modern day USA. ABC’s Dancing with the Stars has twenty-seven seasons. NBC’s American’s got Talent has fourteen thus far and its dance acts are among the most popular. They attest to the mass appeal of dance across the country. The Journal of Dance Medicine & Science estimates (combining the student dance population with that of professional dancers, choreographers, and teachers) that a population range of 761,900 to 11,126,250 people in the United States participate in performing arts related dance. It’s obvious that Americans love dance and are just beginning to tap into the artistic, social, and health benefits of this. Jiali Wang agrees relating, “Dance allows me to enter an altered state. Dance is the way to keep my eyes opened and see the bright and right things around the world. When I am dancing, it becomes a special time to recognize and know more about me as I purely focus on myself, my muscle, body, thinking, awareness, and spirit. Everything feels like I am growinginto an unlimited universe where I see more interesting and positive things. The power I get from dance is a kind of confidence, courage, and sense of social justice. It tells the true and false while emotionally encouraging me to do what I want to do and say what I want to say. I become free, smart, and strong to expose the truth with my physical language as a way sharing my moral duty towards human rights.”