Insight, Gin Dance Company’s ArtsFairfax Project Support Grant Recipient

Insight, Gin Dance Company’s ArtsFairfax Project Support Grant Recipient

Insight, Gin Dance Company’s ArtsFairfax Project Support Grant Recipient

Get to know Insight

Gin Dance Company’s ArtsFairfax Project Support Grant Recipient

ArtsFairfax connects you to all things arts in Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, and the City of Falls Church. We believe that arts and culture activities transform and empower our communities. In the months ahead, discover the good work of this year’s ArtsFairfax Project Support Grant recipients.  


To start off the series we chat with Shu-Chen Cuff, Artistic Director and Choreographer of Gin Dance Company, who auditioned and cast older adults in a piece called Insight, a dance production inspired by the African Proverb “When an old person dies, a library burns down to the ground.”

ArtsFairfax: Thank you, Shu-Chen, for joining us today. For those who are not familiar with Insight, could you provide an overview of your Project Support Grant? 

Cuff: Insight is both the name of our latest full evening-length production and a piece within the show. The production is comprised of three pieces each with very different meanings, cultural influences, and styles – Insight, I Am Here, and A Cup of Tea. Together, we showcase a dynamic range of styles and movement, as well as different and engaging storylines, emotional connections, and multicultural influences. 

ArtsFairfax: Referring to the captivating narratives within your work, could you share the inspiration behind this project? 

Cuff: “Insight” was inspired by the African Proverb “When an old person dies, a library burns down to the ground.” This powerful quote reminds us of the immense wealth of knowledge and experience that older generations possess. Through choreography and dance, I express the awakening message that we should respect more and care more for our seniors and appreciate all they have done to give younger generations the world they will inherent from them. We need to hear their stories and learn their lessons so we can benefit and grow from the wisdom they have to share.  


ArtsFairfax: In addition to the new work, Insight, Gin Dance featured performances from previously acclaimed pieces. Can you tell us about them? 


Cuff: Certainly. We included as part of the full production encore performances of two previously acclaimed pieces, I Am Here and A Cup of Tea. I Am Here is a collaboration with kinetic sculpture artist Kevin Reese. Using the kinetic sculpture design and dance, the audience will get to see and understand how the immigrants’ life experiences come together with the community. 


In addition, A Cup of Tea is a culturally influenced work with live music accompaniment by Chinese Dulcimer musician Chao Tian. In this work, I delve into the culture and philosophy of the Chinese tea ceremony and reveal that the tea ceremonies and rituals contain an adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday life, as well as a sense of refinement, an inner spiritual contentment, humility, restraint, and simplicity.  

ArtsFairfax: How does this project reflect Gin Dance Company’s mission and commitment to community involvement? 

Cuff: We are committed to ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for economically disadvantaged individuals in this project. To achieve this, our staff and board members worked together and actively reached out to several senior communities, student groups, and the immigrant community. We provided complimentary performance tickets and free workshops for these underserved groups. (Gin Dance Company was the recipient of a FY24 Ticket & Participation Subsidy Grant 


Specifically for Insight, we designed workshops for senior communities. I taught the movements and then Insight cast members danced alongside them, sharing their thoughts and experiences of working on this piece. At the end, we would perform for them. These seniors had a wonderful time at the workshop. You could see participants light up and awaken as they learned the movements. Two weeks later they were thrilled to come to our showing of Insight at Capital One Hall with their complimentary tickets. 


ArtsFairfax: What aspects of the community you serve resonate with you the most?   

Cuff: I appreciate the opportunity to serve a community that is so vibrant with arts, culture, sports, and health. We get to work and challenge ourselves to expend our creativity to serve this wonderful and diverse community that so appreciates and supports what we do to help us to keep moving forward and keep growing.  

ArtsFairfax: How can Fairfax residents participate and learn more about Gin Dance Company’s initiatives?  

Cuff: Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to get updates about our upcoming performances and events. Also, residents can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X, as well as our website,    


Gin Dance Company Bio: 

Gin Dance Company (GDC) is a highly respected and critically acclaimed Metropolitan DC/Northern VA based performing arts modern dance company.  GDC was founded in 2011 to provide a professional environment for artists to learn, grow, and express themselves and to bring refreshing and vitalizing works of Artistic Director Shu-Chen Cuff to the community. Each of GDC’s works uniquely reflects Shu-Chen’s rich Asian Dance heritage and Eastern philosophy blended with Western fluidity of movement and culture that touch the soul through visuals arts and movement. GDC’s works have been recognized and named finalists at the Dance Metro DC Awards in the categories of Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Individual Performer.  Gin Dance Company is a recipient of the Dolly Vogt Community Arts Award presented on behalf of ArtsFairfax and Capital One Hall. This distinguished award recognizes artistic merit, percentage of facility capacity and programmatic growth.  GDC has been selected and invited to numerous prestigious events and venues including performances at Capital One Hall, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, The DC Mayor’s Arts Awards at the Lincoln Theatre, The Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relation between China and the United states at the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China, DUMBO Dance Festival at the Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center and SoloDuo Dance Festival at the Dixon Place in New York, Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, VelocityDC Dance Festival at the Sidney Harman Hall, ‘Yes! Dance Invitational’ at the Dogtown Dance Theatre in Richmond, Taiwan Night Concert at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, Professional Touring Artists Series at the Reston CenterStage, and the Reston Multicultural Festival, Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, and more. 


GDC has performed in support of many worthy charitable causes through our Outreach Performance Program including the American Diabetes Association, Child Rescue Center, Benefit Habitat for Humanity, The Angel Fund’s Remembrance Cabaret, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Catholic Charities U.S.A. Hurricane Relief, Life After Domestic Violence, Benefit Concert for Wounded Warriors and many others.