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

Program B on Sunday begins with the first ballet famed Russian-born choreographer George Balanchine created after he moved to the US and opened the School of American Ballet in New York City. Serenade, set to Peter Tchaikovsky's work of the same name premiered in 1934, evolved from classes Balanchine gave his young dancers on how to dance on stage, as opposed to in a classroom. He incorporated both accidents — a woman's fall — and improvisations from some of the students into the piece. So it is fitting that the work is being performed by Taiwan's next generation of dancers, dance students at the nation's premier arts school, the Taipei National University of the Arts.

The Legend Lin Dance Theater was founded by choreographer Lin Lee-chen (林麗珍), who has created a repertoire of visually stunning and emotionally engaging works based upon or inspired by Taiwanese folk tradition. Spring Shoots section is a beautiful duet.

City of the Sky was choreographed in 1996 by Cloud Gate 2's late artistic director Lo Man-fei (羅曼菲), who was chairwoman of the dance department and director of the Graduate School of Dance at the Taipei National University of the Arts.

Fans of Cloud Gate 2 are also very familiar with Wu Kuo-chi's work. The Taiwan-born, Germany-based choreographer who died in January last year managed to cram a lot into his all-too brief life. In just a few short years he created a unique vocabulary of movements and tics that makes his works instantly identifiable. He created Tantalus in 2000, while he was still a student at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany. The 10-minute work for eight dancers is a fast-paced look at modern life, with a nod to Greek mythology.

Choosing which program to see, if you can see only one, will be difficult. Given the relatively inexpensive price of the tickets, many dance lovers are likely to try to see both. However, if you're wallet won't even open for one ticket, you can still see some great dance at the National Theater this weekend, or right next to it.

As an added attraction, the National Theater is sponsoring a free performance by the Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe (原舞者) in the main plaza of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial on Sunday at 4:30pm. Two hundred dancers will perform around a bonfire in the plaza between the two theaters, come rain or shine.

The Formosa Aboriginal Song & Dance Troupe — now in its 15th year — is made up of young Aborigines who share an interest in preserving their people's songs, dances and rituals. The troupe has given hundreds of performances throughout the country and around the world.

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