Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 16 News List

Homegrown talent to strut her stuff on stage


A dance group from the Martha Graham Dance Company led by Sheu Fang-yi (許芳宜), a Taiwanese dancer who is one of the principle dancers of the company, will present eight dances for Taiwanese audiences in March.

The well-known Martha Graham Dance Company, which began in 1926, will be coming to Taiwan for the third time. It made its first visit to Taiwan in 1974, and made a second one 16 years after that in 1990. Sheu will be the lead dancer in four of these eight dances, all created by Martha Graham. The eight dances will be held on March 25 and 26 at the National Theater, Taipei.

The dance company was invited by the Ars Formosa Company (傳大藝術), whose president, Chou Tung-jen (周敦仁) said he was afraid of losing money by inviting this famous modern dance group, as he is not sure whether the people of Taiwan will appreciate the performances.

The dances chosen this time are Errand into the Maze, Appalachian Spring, Chronicle, Deep Song, Satyric Festival Song, Lamentation, Cave of the Heart and Acts of Light.

When asked about the reasons they chose these dances, Sheu replied that she wasn't sure, adding that she is also not confident whether the people will respond positively to this kind of modern dance.

"My greatest pressure comes from whether the spectators will be attracted by our performances, " she said. She added that whether her own performance is convincing is the most important thing.

"The audience comes for the dancer. The dancer has a lot to do in finding out the character of the role he plays. If the dancer really does a good job in the role he plays, then it should be a good presentation," Sheu said.

Sheu said that dancing for a Taiwanese audience is like a miracle. "I have always dreamed of dancing for people here for a very long time," she said.

Sheu has been rated by US Dance Magazine as being among the 25 most-talented dancers of last year. Last May, she also received the Order of the Brilliant Star from President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who said the order she received is like a "gold medal for dancing" at the Olympic Games.

Among the 19 permanent dancers of the company, six are nominated "principle dancers."

As an encouragement for other Taiwanese dancers or artists who are still trying to be recognized internationally, Sheu said that one has to be well-prepared and the chance will come. "If you are not well-prepared you will not be able to seize the chance when it comes," she said.

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