Fri, Apr 27, 2007 - Page 13 News List

Celebrating past triumphs

Taiwan's dance world will be getting together for a weekend of revivals, presenting a great opportunity for dance lovers to enjoy great works of the last 20 years

By Diane Baker  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei Folk Dance Theater performs Homage to the Gods.


The folks at the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH) certainly know how to throw a birthday party. They are partying all year long in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the theater and concert hall, with lots of VIPS (international companies and performers) and relatives (local groups) invited.

The key to any good birthday celebration are reminders of one's achievements and so the NTCH has put together what they have labeled "The Vital Capsule of ART" series, with offerings some of the best performances of Chinese opera, vocal music, theater, dance, traditional Chinese music and Western chamber music in the last 20 years as well as new works.

For the seven capsules, the NTCH invited both world-renowned masters and more than 30 local groups to present nearly 100 performances. The idea was to give people the chance to see an old favorite or something they might have missed, as well as the opportunity to explore something new. Take in even one of the seven different capsules and you are sure to feel better the next day.

This weekend is the first of two dance capsules; Taiwan's dance community being so rich and diverse that one program alone could barely do it justice. The "Collection of the Best Dances in the Past Two Decades" features eight companies, two different programs and two shows each day. The focus of program A tomorrow is "folk dance," while Sunday's program B will highlight modern dance.

The rundown for program A is: Eastern Current (再見東風) by Dance Forum Taipei (舞蹈空間舞團); The Seance (招魂) by the Neo-Classic Dance Company (新古典舞團); Ji Jing (極境) and Chiang Ku (搶孤) by the Lan Yang Dancers (蘭陽舞蹈團) and Homage to the Gods (慶神醮) by the Taipei Folk Dance Theater (台北民族舞團).


WHAT: Collection of the Best Dances in the Past Two DecadesWHERE: The National TheaterWHEN: Tomorrow and Sunday at 2:30pm and 7:30pmTICKETS: NT$300, NT$500, NT$700, NT$900; available at the National Theater box office or online at The Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe will perform Sunday at 4:30pm on the main plaza; free admission

On Sunday the program consists of George Balanchine's Serenade performed by students of the College of Dance, Taipei National University of the Arts; the Spring Shoots section of the Legend Lin Dance Theater's (無垢舞蹈劇場) incredible Hymne aux Fleurs qui Passent (花神祭˙春芽); City of the Sky (天空之城) by more College of Dance students and the late Wu Kuo-chi's (伍國柱) Tantalus, performed by Cloud Gate 2.

While time and space do not allow for a thorough examination of each piece or group, there is room for a brief who's who.

The Dance Forum Taipei was founded by Ping Heng (平珩) as a collective that would provide the opportunity for different choreographers and dancers to present modern dance works. Eastern Current was choreographed by Yang Ming-lung (楊銘隆), who was inspired by Chinese puppetry. Yang collaborated with National Guoguang Opera Company (國光劇團) director Li Xiao-ping (李小平) on the piece and used both dancers and opera performers.

The Neo-Classic Dance Company was founded by Lin Feng-shueh (劉鳳學), one of Taiwan's modern dance pioneers and mentor for scores of Taiwanese dancers. The Seance is based on a poem of the same name by the Tang dynasty poet Qu Yuan (屈原).

The Ilan County-based Lan Yang Dancers, founded by the Italian Catholic priest Gian Carlo Michelini, are one of the country's best traditional dance ensembles. Michelini wanted to preserve both Taiwanese folk dances and the culture of Ilan residents. The Chiang Gu dance is based on a competition that is part of the annual ghost festival.

The Taipei Folk Dance Theater was founded in 1988 by Tsai Li-hua (蔡麗華) as the first ethnic dance company in the country. Its mission was to preserve and promote Taiwan's dance heritage, both Aboriginal and Chinese.

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