Bamboo Wind Project Press Release

Ariail Images and ShaLeigh Dance Works present the

World Premiere of Bamboo Wind

An evening of dance, sculpture, photography & poetry

January 17-20, 2019

at The Fruit


Durham, NC – Culminating from over a year-long development phase that began in June of 2017, Coke Ariail and ShaLeigh Dance Works unveil the world premiere of Bamboo Wind. The ambitious collaborative effort has commissioned 20 local artists in the fields of music, lighting design, poetry, photography, sculpture, theatre, costume design, and dance for a multi-media performance installation. Each artist has worked collaboratively to develop a series of mixed-media room-size environments that will take over an entire wing of the Fruit’s warehouse complex for the creation of a three thousand square foot hanging bamboo forest. The environment includes a stage floor where the installation concludes with an evening length dance-theatre work. “We saw an opportunity to foster collaborations across varied artistic fields and cultural divides through this project,” Comerford said. “We hope to create expanded future opportunities for the general public to participate in experiencing original works of art while also strengthening the creative capacity of artists and honoring the diversity of our community.”

The title is based on a seven-canto poem written by Coke Ariail which serves as the theme for the major multi-art installation and performance. “Bamboo Wind is a story of longing and desire. It’s a love story set in a mythical bamboo forest,” said Ariail. “I wanted to see what was possible if we brought artists working in different media together and gave them all a common theme to explore. The results have been inspiring.” The poet is also the sculptor and has created fourteen original bamboo sculptures that will be integrated into the installation and set design. “Attendees will experience multiple art forms coalescing to create an engrossing world of wilderness and green bamboo. The shows will take you physically through a labyrinth of hanging bamboo canes filled with bamboo sculptures, photography and poetry and deliver you finally into an evening length dance concert.  It will be a world of images and passions.”

Multi-instrument performer, teacher and composer Robbie Link has been commissioned to develop an original score for the work. Link will perform live in the first three of four performances and will open the evening with a prelude while audience members enter through the bamboo labyrinth. Three photographic essays inspired by the poem will be projected on screens within the labyrinth. The phenomenal team of local photographers commissioned include Catherine Carter, Lynne Feiss Necrason and Wojtek Wojdynski.

The evening length work is presented in seven sections comprised of text, solos, duets and ensemble work. The dancers are joined by two talented and accomplished actors commissioned for the work: Dorothy Brown and Michael Foley. SDW Company member Emilie Raleigh has been commissioned to design and create original costumes that interact with the movement of the dancers. Nationally recognized lighting designer Jeremy Kumin will be sharing his theatrical designs throughout the installation as well as on stage.

Bamboo Wind is made possible by the generous support of the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council with support from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

Bamboo Wind is written by Coke Ariail and choreographed by Artistic Director ShaLeigh Comerford in collaboration with ShaLeigh Dance Works’ Company members. Original score is created and performed by Robbie Link.