Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Love will tear you apart again

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Love is a funny old game.

Photo: courtesy of Assembly Dance Theater

Two young women sit on a platform in the middle of the stage. As one performer drapes her hands longingly over the other woman's body, the second performer produces a long condom-like balloon that she thrusts between the first woman's legs and wraps around her body. A second balloon is produced and when combined with the first creates a heart.

Though balloons bear little relationship to Assembly Dance Theater's (組合語言舞團) Love in Wonderland (花言.巧語.身聲漫), which starts tonight at the Experimental Theater, the heart that ended the scenes at rehearsals on Tuesday afternoon, is symbolically at the center of the production.

"We thought about why people love each other," said choreographer Yang Hsui-ju (陽琇如)."We talked about our experiences [of love]," she added referring to the other two choreographers who put the production together.

Yang says there is always a tension between reality and fantasy when two people come together, and that these two poles maintain or divide relationships. Yang attributes the former to trying to recapture the initial moments of a person's first love affair. "Though I've fallen in love many times, I cannot possibly forget the first time I fell in love," she said.

The dance piece's themes have been covered endlessly, but this production is well choreographed and the dancers have a stage presence, which effectively evokes the different moods - whether joy or anguish - that partners experience in a relationship.

"You encounter many disappointments because everyone's personality is different," Yang said. "Pure love will then change."

Drawing inspiration from the Sung Dynasty poem and contemporary novel of the same name - both of which explore the meaning of love in their respective times - the three young choreographers, Yang, Lai Tsui-shuang (賴翠霜) and Lee Kuo-chih (李國治), have created a show that balances the beauty of love with the agony of relationships.

Entertainment notes:

What: Love in Wonderland


Where: Experimental Theater of the National Theater Hall (國家戲劇院實驗劇場), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei (台北市中山南路21-1號)

When: Today and tomorrow at 7:30pm and tomorrow and Sunday at 2:30pm

Tickets: NT$400 and are available through NTCH ticketing or online at

The Assembly Dance Theater, founded in October 1993 by Yang Kuei-chuan (楊桂娟), its current artistic director, has enjoyed a following both at home and abroad. Her company successfully combines contemporary dance techniques with minimalist stage sets to create an aesthetic that is at once simple and mystifying.

It's an approach to dance that Lai knows well. As guest choreographer for this production, she is taking a few months off from her studies in Germany, where she is studying dance, music and theater at the Folkwang Academy - which counts veteran choreographer Pina Bausch among its alumni - to put the production together.

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