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Artist Spotlight

Daniel Conrad: A Cup of Wine

A Cup of Wineis a seven-minute dance film directed by Daniel Conrad and choreographed by Wen Wei Wang. The visual textures of the film blend poetic sentiments from Chinese antiquity with a modern mix of sound and images. The film features three exceptional dancers and the spoken words of Song and Tang dynasty poets (7th-11th century). Viewers are transported through time and space to the turbulent heart of human emotion.

Photo of Daniel Conrad courtesy of Daniel Conrad.
A Cup of Wine’s director Daniel Conrad has master degrees in both biology and cinema. His films make connections between science and art, and convey unity of language and design within diversity.

“My hope for humanity is to forge stronger connections with the natural world,” he says. “As living creatures, we need to find our place in a balanced ecosystem.”


Wen Wei Wang began dancing at an early age in China. He came to Canada in 1991. The award-winning and innovative dancer/choreographer formed his own company, Wen Wei Dance, in 2003.Photo of Wen Wei Wang by Daniel Conrad. Used with permission.

Daniel Conrad made his first film with Wen Wei Wang in 1993, called Second Nature, which was choreographed by Judith Marcuse. Daniel greatly values Wen Wei’s collaborative skills and dazzlingly inventive mind.

Photo by Daniel Conrad. Used with permission. Wen Wei’s adaptable, expressive nature was put to good use in A Cup of Wine. Director Daniel wanted to reinterpret hand gestures from Song and Tang times.To realize this unusual vision, he sat the dancers in a circle with their hands pushed through holes in black cloth. Their subtle finger dances were carefully choreographed by Wen Wei, then filmed. The close-ups were super-imposed to produce a swirl of images on screen. Photo of Sonja Perreten courtesy of Daniel Conrad.

In Song Dynasty cave frescos there are images of flying dancers. In A Cup of Wine, dancer Sonja Perreten uses a trampoline to execute the aerial acrobatics. A former gymnast and skier, now an aerialist, she enjoyed her `flying time’ in the film.

The Vancouver-raised dancer is now working in London, UK. Sonja has collaborated with Daniel on several previous projects. “Daniel and Wen Wei work well together,” she says. “During rehearsals, they created an energetic space, imbued with kindness.”


To connect with audiences, Daniel Conrad primarily uses film festivals and international distribution. Arts coverage on Canadian networks is declining, so he applauds the direct funding received from the BC Arts Council. Daniel refers to arts funding as an economic generator that feeds an ecology of aesthetics. A Cup of Wine employed dancers, a choreographer, an editor, a chinese scholar, and technicians with a rental space.

 

Daniel Conrad received funding from the BC Arts Council’s
Media Artists Project Assistance program in 2010.