• Dance
  • Run Ended


Showing on Jan 26-28

Playing at Scotiabank Dance Centre

A black and white photo of two performers on the floor. The performer on the left hides their face with their body tensed. The performer on the right is looking up. Their neck is outstretched, with one leg extended, and one hand pressed on the floor.

Naishi Wang and Jean Abreu (China/Canada/UK/Brazil)

Deciphers is a conversation of words, movement and stillness. Two artists from migrant backgrounds decipher each other and the languages that ground them through intense, physical performances that embrace elements of Chinese Folk Dance, Brazilian dance styles, spoken word and ink on paper. 

These media create and question complexities of communication through the lens of understanding and misunderstanding. Co-performers and choreographers, Naishi Wang and Jean Abreu, use the stage as a blank canvas to highlight the body as a primal source for communication and a carrier of meaning. By shifting identity—through words and movement—Deciphers discovers new languages, devised in different modes of expression and perception.

Centering the immigrant experience, Deciphers addresses translation as a linguistic phenomenon. The result is a mesmerizing, beautiful work by two artists international in talent and scope.

Co-creators Naishi Wang and Jean Abreu talked with PuSh Director of Programming, Gabrielle Martin, about Deciphers on the PuSh Play podcast. Listen to the episode here.

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Artist Bio

Naishi Wang (Canada/China)

Based in culturally diverse Toronto, and born in Changchun, China mixed with Chinese, North Korean and Mongolian ancestry. Naishi Wang observes and studies the underlying motivations of the body’s movements and the emotions it conveys. Renowned for his exceptional improvisations, which he turns into incarnations of bodily meaning, Wang is also a practicing visual artist. His drawings, which take the form of dances on paper, echo his work in dance. 

Part of the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) program in February 2019 and also presented in Halifax and Hamburg, Germany. His solo Taking Breath demonstrated his interest in intimate forms of bodily communication, a subject he takes up again in the duet Face to Face which focused on our new modes of virtual communication and the factors that act in concert to convey our intentions in even the simplest exchanges. Naishi is currently collaborating with UK-based artist Jean Abreu entitled Deciphers and a trio named Eyes, Wide Open. He is an artist in residency at the Citadel, Harbourfront Centre and TO Live and has been awarded Les Respirations du FTA (2021), Small Scale Creation Fund from CanDance (2021) and Chalmers Arts Fellowship from Ontario Arts Council (2022).

Jean Abreu (UK/Brazil)

Born in Brazil, Jean Abreu moved to London in 1996 after receiving a scholarship to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance. Jean Abreu received the Jerwood Choreography Award in 2003 following the creation of his first choreography, Hibrido. Since then his work has toured throughout the UK, Europe, Brazil and China including performances for Dance Umbrella, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Royal Opera House and Southbank Centre in London. Jean Abreu’s movement practice comes from his ongoing interest in utilizing the body as a powerful tool to articulate arresting emotional and complex ideas through dance.  Creative & digital technology has consistently featured within and challenged Jean’s varied performance work. 

In 2009 he founded Jean Abreu Dance and has since collaborated with influential artists across multiple art forms including rock band 65daysofstatic for Inside (2010), choreographer Jorge Garcia for Parallel Memories (2011), visual artists Gilbert & George for Blood (2013) and Brazilian sculptor and visual artist Elisa Bracher for A Thread (2016). His work Solo for Two toured across the UK in 2018 with further performances in China and Portugal in 2019.  Jean has taught extensively in the UK and abroad in renowned dance organizations and Universities including London Contemporary Dance School, London Studio Centre, Dance Base (Scotland), International Festival of Morelos (Mexico) Roger Williams University (USA) New York University (USA), Balance Arts Centre (China). He is currently a regular guest artist at Bath Spa University, Portsmouth University, University of Bath, Greenwich Dance and Beijing Dance Academy. 


Scotiabank Dance Centre

677 Davie Street, Vancouver


  • January 26: 8pm
  • January 27: 8pm
  • January 28: 2pm

Runtime: 60 min, no intermission

Post-show talkback: Jan 28

Content Advisory

Strobe lights, haze


Single tickets: $39
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View the visual story for the Dance Centre here (Google Slides)


created by Naishi Wang and Jean Abreu Choreography and performed by Naishi Wang + Jean Abreu Lighting Design Lucie Bazzo Visual Design Ivy Wang Composer Olesia Onykiienko Dramaturgic advice Guy Cools Outside eye Ginelle Chagnon Rehearsal Director Xing Bang Fu Voice Coach Fides Krucker Access Consultant Zed Lightheart Technical Director Emerson Kafarowski Stage Manager/Technical Assistant in collaboration A.J. Morra Technical Manager Cath Cullinane PR and Marketing Diagonal Dance Management Michael Peter Johnson, Jean Abreu Dance + Robert Sauvey, Dance Umbrella of Ontario

Partners in Canada The CanDance Network (Toronto) + National Arts Centre (Ottawa) + Harbourfront Centre (Toronto) + MAI Montréal, Arts interculturels (Montréal) + PuSh Festival (Vancouver) + DanceWorks (Toronto) + New Works (Vancouver) + Citadel (Toronto)  

Partners in UK Fabric Dance (Birmingham & Nottingham) + Dance City (Newcastle) + Brighton Dome (Brighton) + South East Dance (Brighton) + Towner Gallery (Eastbourne) 

Deciphers is supported and funded by the National Arts Centre (NAC) Visiting Dance Artist programme + The Candance Network small-scale creation fund + Canada Council for the Arts + Performing Arts Technical Residency programme at Harbourfront Center, Toronto + PuSh walk special podcast + Toronto Arts Council + Ontario Arts Council + Canada Council for the Arts + Arts Council England + Canadian High Commission UK