Photo: Olivia Moon Photography

Cassie Wang

2023-2024 Dance Lab Resident

Cassie Wang (she/her) is a Cambridge-based multidisciplinary artist working in contemporary dance, design, and animation. Originally from Kansas City, she received her B.A. from Pomona College in Computer Science with minors in Dance and Media Studies before moving to Cambridge. She has also trained with the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, GagaLab, b12, and staibdance.

As a maker, Cassie’s interests lie in the possibilities of blending movement and performance with other mediums to reflect on inter- and intrapersonal dynamics. With an intent of experimentation, she is curious about how different forms coexisting in one space can yield simultaneous creation. Her process provides space to meditate on various facets of her identity that she meets with uncertainty. Through the time, intention, repetition, and imagination that creation requires, this reflection either reinforces her perception of Self or necessitates a reimagination of it.

As a performer, Cassie is a company member with KAIROS Dance Theater, VLA DANCE, and was previously a member of Tristian Griffin Dance Company. Her other performance and collaboration credits include the Boston Lyric Opera, Jessi Stegall, Chavi Bansal, Rachel Linsky, and Dafi Altabeb. While an undergraduate student, Cassie had the opportunity to perform work by Derion Loman, Liz Lerman, Ronit Ziv, Ohad Naharin, and Shahar Binyamini.

Cassie’s choreographic work has been presented by the Solstice Dance Project (Kansas City), ACDA Baja, NACHMO Boston, Dunamis, and MIDDAY Movement Series. She was commissioned for an original work by Resilience Dance Company (St. Louis) in 2022, and this fall, she will be a teaching assistant for the Gaga course at Harvard University. She has received support in her professional development as a BIPOC artist through Dunamis’s Emerging Artist Fellowship (2022) and MIDDAY’s BIPOC Professional Dancer Mentorship Program (2023). Cassie is grateful to find community and build intentionality in these spaces that uplift artists of color.

Project Description:

For her Dance Lab at the BCA, Cassie Wang will begin a study on longing and fabricated nostalgia, building toward an evening-length, interdisciplinary performance integrating contemporary dance, storytelling, and generative video art. Responding to a selection of songs by Big Thief, the music and lyricism of the American indie folk band will guide an ethnographic inquiry and movement research with her collaborators. In this project, she aims to not only incorporate Big Thief’s music as the score but also treat their lyrics as a discrete source of text for generating movement. Interested in how both the meaning of a text and its cadence can inspire movement, her choreography will interweave interpretations of the music’s sonic qualities; the meaning and sound of the lyrics; and the ideas and stories collected through research with the dancers. Utilizing her technical background in computer science and media production, she plans to visually depict the ethnographic findings using a BigGAN text-to-image generator, juxtaposing the raw, unembellished storytelling of fictionalized early memories with the highly curated and artificial medium of generative art. Ultimately, this study on longing aims to cultivate mutual understanding—longing emerges from a perceived gap in our identities, and to know what someone longs for is to witness the core of their being.