From the heart of the Gobi desert, the Gansu Dunhuang Art Theater brings a classic of Chinese ballet, Flower Rain on the Silk Road, to Taiwan for a week-long tour of the island.
The tour began last night at Taipei's Sun Yat-sen Memorial Center and will play again tonight in Banqiao.
Dunhuang lies at a crucial junction on the Silk Road, the ancient tangle of trails that stretch more than 7,000km from China to the Mediterranean and served as a highway for trading merchandise and mixing cultures: Chinese, Indian, Islam and Greek. By the 4th century , the road had made Dunhuang prosperous. It also made it an important stop for Buddhists and a destination for thousands of Buddhist monks from India.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ARS FORMOSA
Today, the best-known representatives of that time are the Mogao Caves, hundreds of shrines cut into a long cliff face some 25km outside the city. Monks began carving the caves in 366 AD and, in each of them, made intricate drawings and clay stuccoes of the Buddha as well as murals depicting the lives and cultures of the people who came to Dunhuang.
The site began to decline in the 12th century and slipped into obscurity until the 20th century. Of the thousands of caves carved by monks, nearly 500 remain.
The world-famous murals are the inspiration for Dunhuang Charm, with scenes from the cave walls coming to life on stage. The scenery and costumes, too, reflect the rich design and vibrant colors found in the Mogao Caves.
Flower Rain on the Silk Road was first performed in 1979 and has since become one of the most-staged ballets in the world. In 1982, the Gansu Dunhuang Art Theater had the honor of performing the ballet in Italy, a stage that helped launch the ballet's popularity around the globe. It's now been staged thousands of times both in and outside of China.
Songs like The Iraqi State (
What: Dunhuang Charm, Flower Rain on the Silk Road
Time and place:
March 25: Taipei County Government Multi-purpose Hall, 3F, 161 Zhongshan Rd., Sec. 1, Banqiao, Taipei County (板橋市中山路一段161號3F).
March 26: Changhua County Yunlin Performing Arts Center.
March 27: Tainan City Cultural Center.
March 28: Tainan County Cultural Center.
March 29: Chiayi City Cultural Center Performing Arts Auditorium.
March 30: Kaohsiung City CKS Cultural Center Auditorium.
March 31: Taichung City Chungshan Hall.
Tickets: Cost from NT$300 to NT$1,200, depending on location. Contact Ars Formosa at (02) 2771 5676 or visit Web site at www.arsformosa.com.tw.
Scott Saulters wasn’t sure if his film had just taken one of the two top prizes at a recent film competition. Although Saulters has been in Taiwan for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, the award ceremony for the inaugural “Bi Tian Iann” (眯電影) short film contest was conducted entirely in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), a language he can’t speak. “I thought I heard it, but I didn’t want to look too excited,” he says. Despite his limited command of the tongue, Saulter’s entry, Wu Yu Tzu (烏魚子, mullet roe), took first place in the amateur category of the
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
In the regular drumbeat of arrests of alleged Chinese spies, one case last month stood out. It did not involve the US or another rival of China, but Russia, whose security services accused a prominent arctic scientist of selling classified data on technologies for detecting submarines. Meanwhile a court in Kazakhstan in October convicted the Central Asia nation’s preeminent China specialist of espionage, a move widely interpreted at the time as a warning against increased meddling by the superpower next door. Both men maintain their innocence and if China is spying on Russia, Moscow is surely doing the same. Even so, the fact
A walk down Orchard Road shows just how badly the coronavirus pandemic has hit Singapore’s famed shopping strip. Gone are popular restaurants like Modesto’s, which shut last month after 23 years. Also missing are the queues of Chinese tourists outside Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Malls along the 2.4km stretch, once one of Asia’s top shopping meccas, are dotted with empty stores. On a recent midweek afternoon, the number of shop staff idly dusting shelves or playing with their mobile phones rather than greeting customers is notable. “It’s the worst crisis for Singapore and Orchard Road,” said Kiran Assodani, who has run her