College friendship serves Philein Wang and Michelle Beauchamp-Tai well as the Silicon Valley Dance Festival approaches

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on September 15, 2017

Philein Wang and Michelle Beauchamp-Tai bonded as dancers while studying at UCLA and are now teaming up in support of ZiRu Dance, where Philein serves as Artistic Director and Michelle as a member of the Advisory Board.

We met in Michelle’s Menlo Park backyard to talk about what keeps their collaborative partnership going, and also about the Silicon Valley Dance Festival, titled Aftershock, that ZiRu is presenting over three nights at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center September 29 thru October 1.

Aftershock showcases work from Philein along with guest choreographers Robert Moses, Stefani Berger, and Christian Burns . There will be guest performances by Margaret Jenkins Dance Company (Saturday only), and David Harvey (formerly of LINES Ballet), among others. Tickets are available online.

“I think more and more now, I see dance as a method by which people can come to terms with difficult moments in their lives,” said Philein. “It’s a means for healing. Many things have happened in the world that have caused outrage and grief.”

What particularly excites Philein is not only the opportunity to bring more dance to the Peninsula, but also that the audience will get to experience the equivalent of seven performance evenings spent in the City all in one night in Menlo Park.

While Philein continued in dance at  UCLA, Michelle left the dance department for the school’s theater department. She acted in Los Angeles before moving to the Bay Area and starting a family. She gets great satisfaction from working with Philein.

“It’s great to be a part of something new and exciting,” she said. “Aftershock is very contemporary, very diverse. There is something for everyone. I can see young people going and really appreciating the hip hop aspects, but so will people who are new to dance.”

Ending our visit with a photo session, the close friendship formed at UCLA was displayed by Philein and Michelle, as captured by Irene Searles’ photography.

Photos by Irene Searles (c) 2017

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