"Martial art embodies power and the dynamic of conflict. I redefine it as martial movement -- a language that communicates the multiplicity of human emotions.
I choose martial movement as a sensory metaphor to convey love."
The performance work of Svitlana Zavialova, known professionally as Wu Woman, is centered around the immaterial element of Shen-fa in Chinese martial arts, and heavily influenced by pre-industrial Chinese culture.
Zavialova cites Wu Zetian, Empress of China in the seventh century AD, as one of her main sources of inspiration. In her live show Hidden Wu, Zavialova combines physical performance with introspective monologues as she seeks the unattainable artifact, the “Hidden Wu,” that connects the parts of the self that reside in multiple timelines, one of which is an alternative embodiment of Wu Zetian. As she she says in the second chapter of her performance: “ If I could be someone I’m not. Who would I be, if I could be her and couldn’t be me? If I could be Queen”
Hidden Wu premiered at Solo Creation Festival in Los Angeles 2016, and was also performed internationally including at Divided Unity Contemporary Art Exhibition Shenzhen, China, 2017. It also was performed at the Warrior of Light International Martial Arts Festival Kyiv, Ukraine 2018, and became the first abstract martial arts performance ever included into the program of international martial arts festival as a separate genre.
"Svitlana Zavialova has achieved a high level of skill, which in itself is inspirational. She created a unique blend of a marshal arts discipline with dance. Not that that dance and martial arts have not been combined in various ways before (throughout history), but Svitlana's style is very 21st century, very contemporary in feel (with echos of the past, of course).
Wu Woman is a kind of real life super hero. With skills that surpass normal human achievement."
David Bickford, Actor