No Rule is Our Rule (Wen Hui and Eiko Otake, 2023)

Location: Rubenstein Arts Center Film Theater

No Rule is Our Rule
(Wen Hui and Eiko Otake, 2023, 73 min, China/USA, Chinese and English with English subtitles, Digital)

-- Q&A to follow w/ artist-directors Wen Hui and Eiko Otake, moderated by Prof. Jingqiu Guan (Duke Dance Program)

No Rule is Our Rule is a documentary film about the friendship between two fiercely independent, interdisciplinary female dance artists Eiko Otake and Wen Hui. Eiko grew up in postwar Japan and has lived in New York since the 1970s. 8 years younger, Beijing-based Wen Hui grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China and shows her work internationally. They spent a month together in China in January 2020, when the surge of COVID-19 became first known to the general public. Postponing their physical collaboration, Eiko and Wen Hui continued to converse candidly over Zoom and co-edited the footage they filmed in China. The process has deepened their mutual understanding of their past works created and presented in different historical and social contexts. Chinese film director Yiru Chen, once Eiko’s student, joined the team as a co-editor.

No Rule is Our Rule was selected for the Munich New Wave Film Festival and won Best Feature Documentary at the 2023 Japan International Film Festival. 

Wen Hui Bio: Wen Hui is one of the pioneers of Chinese contemporary dance theater. She is a choreographer, dancer, and she also makes documentary films and installations. She graduated with a degree in choreography from Beijing Dance Academy in 1989, and in 1994, she studied modern dance in New York. In 1994, she founded China’s first independent dance theater company, “Living Dance Studio.” In 2005, Wen Hui and Wu Wenguang established Caochangdi Workstation and co-curated the “Crossing” International Dance Festival in Beijing. Wen Hui’s works research how the body holds an archive of personal social documentation, and experiment with how bodily memory catalyzes collision between history and reality.

Eiko Otake Bio: Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement-based, interdisciplinary artist, whose collaborative and solo projects have been commissioned by American Dance Festival, BAM Next Wave Festival, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. Eiko has been the recipient of many awards including the MacArthur Fellowship, Doris Duke Award, Scripps American Dance Festival Award, and a Bessie’s Special Citation. She teaches at Wesleyan University, New York University, and Colorado College.

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Dancers Wen Hui and Eiko Otake collaborate in a still image from No Rule Is Our Rule

Contact: Hank Okazaki


Sponsor: Duke University Dance Program

Co-Sponsors: Duke Cinematic Arts, Duke Arts Presents, Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (BCAF), American Dance Festival (ADF), Asian/Pacific Studies Institute (APSI), Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program (AADS), Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI)