Fri, Sep 14, 2001 - Page 8 News List

Dancing for Dante


Taipei Dance Circle's(光環舞集) new performance (神曲2001) may sound like another rendition of the Dante epic, but it is composed of partly improvised pieces strongly influenced by yoga and tai-chi.

The group was founded in 1992 by Liou Shaw-lu (劉紹爐), former member of Cloud Gate Dance Theater (雲門舞集). It has since been putting on acclaimed performances worldwide and won the German Ludwig Foundation's Award for Innovation in the Performing Arts in 1996. Liou's major innovation is the use of baby oil on dancers to turn the dancers movements into what appears like gliding and rolling.

Except in (草履蟲之歌), Liou's 1998 work, the group has taken on new media to express the flow of “chi” (氣), or energy, in and around the human body.

Hell (地獄) surprises the audience with dazzling aluminium foil as its backdrop and floor. The six nearly nude dancers writh and coil on this silver stage alternately lit in flaming red and icy blue. The slightest movement draws thunderous noise from the aluminium foil, which echoes around the theater hall, evoking images of bubbling furnaces and erupting volcanoes.

There being no music throughout the dance, performers chant monotones as if groaning. They move like blind people on the aluminium foil, which sometimes caves in to cause “avalanches,” sending the dancers rolling in all directions.

Water takes up the main stage in (淨界) to show the how chi moves in the air. Dancers glide in the shallow pond on stage as if doing water ballet. The ripples and splashes in the pond caused by their movements are projected onto a screen in the background like an ever-changing ink painting.

Divine Comedy 2001 will be performed in Taipei on Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm, and on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm at the Experimental Hall of the National Theater. Tickets are available through Acer ticket outlets.

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