Fri, Jan 06, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Dancers delve deeply into mysteries of life

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dancers, whether they are from the East or West, have different perceptions of the mysterious power of life.

PHOTO COURTESY OF LIN HH DANCE COMPANY

As a young dance troupe that is three-years-old, Lin HH Dance Company (林向秀舞團) proves itself to be an energetic, fast-rising star in the local performing arts scene. After the highly acclaimed East & West/Mix & Match (混東西) last year, the company teams up with its renowned foreign dancers once again to stage its fourth production Believe Or Not (信不信由你) -- a modern dance piece that probes the superstitious and mysterious beliefs of the East and the West.

The dance is the creation of four professional choreographers: Robert Regala from the US, Joelle Arnush from Canada, local young talent Chou Shu-yi (周書毅) and Lin Hsiang-hsiu (林向秀), the artistic director and founder of the company.

Believe Or Not comprises solo, duet, trio and quartet pieces. The intense physical and emotional interactions and collisions of the four open up varied possibilities in each piece where each dancer's unique quality is presented.

"The four of us have distinctive and personal bodily textures and aesthetics. So instead of coming up with a unified work, we developed the piece based on our differences and heterogeneities," Lin said.

The dance opens up with a funeral, a mourning for a loss. It may be someone we love or something we hold dear. The excruciating sense of loss is the starting point. And from there, the four characters are sent out to experience the changes in the ways they previously felt and believed: A woman who believes in fate and awaits an angel. A big boy who doesn't trust anyone but is afraid to be alone. An elegant and lost foreign lady and a hip-hopguy who is bald. The four dance out different cultural taboos rooted in their fear of the unknown, their superstitions, their beliefs in spirits and the mystery of life and death.

The four are also tightly connected, walking across each other's path and sharing the intimacy of their intertwined bodies and emotions.

To accommodate the spiritual dimension of the dance, stage-design artist Lin Yu-zheng (林育正) presents several pillars floating in the air. Reminiscent of the columns of ancient temples, the theatrical space thereby has an alternative dimension that vacillates between the sacred and the obscure.

When asked if the troupe would continue its collaborations with artists from abroad, Lin said it is the direction they'd like to pursue in order to facilitate international exchanges and contribute to the dance education of Taiwan at the same time.

"Apart from our performances, Regala has also taught workshops and classes at the National Taiwan University of the Arts and National Taipei University of the Arts. We want to maintain such practices as a standard pattern, to offer the youngsters a channel to learn from excellent artists from all over the world," Lin said.

Just the facts:

What: Believe or Not by Lin HH Dance Company

Where: National Experimental Theater (國家實驗劇場), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei (台北市中山南路21-1號). Sinjhuang City Cultural Center (新莊文化藝術中心), 133, Zhongpin Rd, Sinjhuang City, Taipei County (台北縣新莊市中平路133號). Performance Hall at Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taoyuan County (桃園縣文化局演藝廳), 21, Xianfu Rd, Taoyuan City (桃園市縣府路21號).

When: Tonight at 7:30pm; tomorrow at 2:30pm and 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm in Taipei. Jan. 13 at 7:30pm in Sinjhuang. Jan. 14 at 7:30pm in Taoyuan.

Tickets: NT$400 for Taipei; NT$100 to NT$300 for Sinjhuang, available through NTCH ticketing outlets or online at www.artsticket.com.tw.

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