Fri, Nov 05, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Tai Gu connects us with a world of dreams

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tai Gu Tales Dance Theater will take Pilgramage II: Dream Nation to Kaohsiung.

PHOTO COURTESY OF TAI GU TALES DANCE THEATER

Internationally acclaimed Taipei-based modern dance troupe, Tai Gu Tales Dance Theater (太古踏舞團) returns to the boards this weekend when the group's current production of Pilgrimage II: Dream Nation (朝聖II-夢想國度) makes its Kaohsiung debut at the city's Fangshan Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (鳳山國父紀念館).

Formed in 1988 by choreographer and one-time leading dancer for Lin Hwai-min's (林懷民) Cloud Gate dance group (雲門舞集), Lin Shiu-wei (林秀偉), Tai Gu Tales Dance Theater has won global acclaim for its performances. They blend Western-style new age and contemporary dance routines with more traditional Oriental dance standards, as well as Daoist and Buddhist religious temple dances.

Since the troupe debuted in the late 1980s with The Life of Mandala (生之曼陀羅) -- a production the company still performs at many international dance festivals -- the dance theater's hybrid fusion of eastern aesthetics and new age conceptualism has enabled it to dance its way into the hearts and minds of contemporary dance fans the world over.

Many of the troupe's previous productions, which include The Back of Beyond (無盡胎藏) and The Obsession of the Stone (踐花月之約) proved hugely successful both at home and abroad.

The popularity of Tai Gu's performances has been attributed to Lin's dance philosophy. Regardless of the obscurity of the story line, Lin ensures that all of her productions enable audiences to connect mentally with the dancers' body movements in what she describes as "a unity of spirit."

For her latest production, Lin has chosen to blend a reworking of a 1981 Cloud Gate production with two of her own new works. Vivid, sensual and highly emotive, Pilgrimage II: Dream Nation is divided into three acts.

The audience is transported to contrasting dream-like landscapes that convey the simple message: If there really is a paradise, then it is in our hearts rather than in our psyches.

Entitled Phoenix Dance (鳳舞), Stone Forest (石林) and Aurora (極光), the production's three acts set out to explore three different worlds, where tranquility, nature and light all play integral parts.

Aspects of our modern environment meet more classically oriented themes from antiquity. The performers movements often slow (and sometimes are almost stationary) when contemplation is required to explore and capture Dream Nation's many intimate and thought-provoking moments.

Performance notes:

What: The Tai Gu Tales Dance Theater (太古踏舞團): Pilgrimage II: Dream (朝聖II-夢想國度)

Where: Kaohsiung Fangshan Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (鳳山國父紀念館)

When: Tomorrow, 7:30pm

Tickets: Tickets cost from NT$300 to NT$1,000 and are available from ERA Ticketing outlets nationwide or direct from the venues.

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