Performance Group Mission

Artistic Director Lani Weissbach founded Shen & Bones Performance Group with the desire to create and share dance-theater works that take people on a visceral, sensory journey into the many aspects of their humanity. The repertoire contains works of “quiet introspection, raw power, evocative imagery and dark themes” (Steve Sucato, national dance writer/critic) as well as humorous and playful pieces, often bordering on the outrageous.

The company performs in "Night Travelers" at the Dafmark Dance Theater in Erie, PA, February 22-23, 2013.  Photo by Rick Klein.Jay Hanes performs in "Night Travelers" at the Dafmark Dance Theater in Erie, PA, February 22-23, 2013.  Photo by Rick Klein.Jay Hanes and Doug Lodge (with Lani Weissbach on drums)  perform in "The Truth About Mr. Duffy" at the Dafmark Dance Theater in Erie, PA, February 22-23, 2013.  Photo by Rick Klein.

Shen & Bones productions synthesize a variety of performance genres, drawing heavily from the philosophy and aesthetic of Butoh, a Japanese contemporary dance form, and from Western modern dance-theater styles. Butoh, in its multiple faces and forms, provides the inspirational “backbone” for Shen & Bones. As a versatile and highly organic medium, Butoh embraces contradictions and contrasting states within our internal and external worlds. It can be simultaneously simple and complex, disturbing and playful, raw and refined, defying expectations of a specific dance language.

The company is comprised of a small group of performers who come together on a project-to-project basis. The performers are diversely talented individuals who are trained in many disciplines, including dance, theater, visual art and music. Guest artists from any artistic discipline are often invited to participate in the creation and performance of the pieces. Since 1999, audiences throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania have enjoyed Shen & Bones performances in a variety of settings, such as theaters, galleries, restaurants, outdoor areas, educational and social venues, as well as other sites. Shen & Bones has been invited to present works in Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C. and Asheville, N.C. In 2007, the group was selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour (PennPat) Roster.

The aim of Shen & Bones Performance Group is to leave viewers with something to identify with, something to think further about, something moving for the heart, and something that speaks to their own creative imaginations.