For a dance company, Kun Yang Lin/Dancers (KYL/D) spend a lot of time talking about stillness.

Kun-Yang Lin was a dance prodigy in his native Taiwan, choreographing and performing when he was barely a teenager. He grew up in a Buddhist world with a Catholic father. He traveled the world in pursuit of modern dance, forging an alloy of Eastern tradition and Western experimentation.

He landed in Philadelphia after suffering an epiphanic life chapter--his father died and Lin developed a brain tumor. The dancer discovered he wanted to teach, and got a job at Temple University. His studio in South Philadelphia is a workshop for both dance and spirit.

"If you move without intention, there's nothing there," said Lin. "You have to commit to that state of emotion, but you have to step out. You are a performer."

His works are as informed by Martha Graham and Paul Taylor as they are by sand mandalas and Buddhist chants. A Philadelphian since 2003, the tumor in his head has cleared, and he urges the members of his dance company to find themselves inside the dance movement, inside the performance space, and inside the larger world.

"Trying to find the purest water," said Lin. "The purest water is where the dance emerges."


Video produced by Lindsay Lazarski