International choreographer Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) and his celebrated Cloud Gate (雲門舞集) dance troupe will bring the Cursive (行草) trilogy to a close later this year when the final chapter in the epic production premiers at the National Theater in November.
Formed in 1973 and named after a legendary dance that, according to scholars is some 5,000 years old, Cloud Gate was the first contemporary dance company to be established in the Chinese-speaking world. Its ground breaking dance styles borrow from tai chi, Chinese Opera, modern dance and Western ballet, blending oriental mythology and folklore with religious aesthetics.
In 2001 Lin became the first choreographer to delve into the world of calligraphy with the breakthrough work Cursive. Premiered in Taipei four years ago it explored the aesthetics of calligraphy through forceful motions designed to portray the blackness of the calligrapher's ink by transforming contemporary dance routines into brush strokes.
For the second part of the trilogy, Cursive II (行草貳), which premiered in Taipei in 2003, Lin choreographed more refined movements. Cursive II explores emptiness and was described as "a work of delicate lyricism." It remains one of Cloud Gate's most critically acclaimed works to date.
That could change in November however when Lin's Cursive III makes its world premier at the National
Theater. For the final chapter of the Cursive trilogy Lin has taken yet another look at the relationships between the calligrapher's brush, paper and body movement.
Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Lin explained that the final chapter of Cursive draws inspiration from wild, or contem-porary calligraphy and the performance will, according to Lin "be more fluid, sharper and stronger in nature than the first chapters."
In order to explore the movement of the brushed characters and the paper on which they are penned, Lin has developed a special set with huge rice paper scrolls on which varying types of wild calligraphy have been penned. As the performance takes shape water will cascade down onto the scrolls, the ink will run and new and abstract patterns will emerge as the
dancers weave their magic.
Once again Lin has called on the talents of a myriad of theatrical wizards to help him create what is tipped to be an unequalled performance. The costumes, which in Cloud Gate tradition will be minimal and provocative, have been designed by award winning costumer Sammy Wang (王世信); and the score has been arranged by Liang Chun-mei (梁春美).
Cloud Gate will perform Cursive III at the National Theater from Nov. 19 through Nov. 27. Tickets for all performances are expected to sell out well in advance.
Tickets cost from between NT$400 and NT$2,000 and can be purchased from the CKS Cultural Center's ticket office or online from the center's Web site (www.artsticket.com.tw). Tickets are also available direct from Cloud Gate at (02) 2712 2102 or on the web at www.cloudgate.org.tw.
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