The Lin HH Dance Company (林向秀舞團) is looking at both sides of the story this weekend with its new production The Other Side of Darkness (光的另一邊). And having a little fun with the audience at the same time, as bilingual dance lovers will be able to tell just by looking at the title. The meaning of the Chinese characters is the exact opposite of the English translation.
Choreographer and dancer Lin Hsiang-hsiu (林向秀) said the aim was to get the audience thinking how they go through life - searching for the spotlight or trying to stay in the dark, hiding from their fears or confronting them - or perhaps see similarities in people they know.
She said she and co-choreographer Wang Wei-ming (王維銘) wanted to explore what people fear the most, and what they love. The program follows two couples, Lin and Wang and Lin Ku-tai (林谷玳) and Chen Wei-ning (陳維寧), although there is no story line and no narrative. But by the end of the evening, she hopes the audience will be able to figure out each character's history and why they have behaved the way they do.
"But our bodies, our gestures tell something about the characters. It's more dramatic than last year's piece [Tilt]," she said. "Wei-ming is very dramatic. He's also an actor, so he brings acting into this year's production."
Lin Hsiang-hsiu paired up with former Cloud Gate Dance Theatre member Wang for the first time last year for a piece (Happy Anniversary) she created for the National Theater birthday Duets program. She had known him for several years at that point, but they had never worked together. Their partnership worked out so well that they started talking about working together again, but for a whole evening's program.
WHAT: Lin HH Dance Company (林向秀舞團), The Other Side of Darkness (光的另一邊)
WHEN: Tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm; tomorrow and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: The Experimental Theater (實驗劇場) 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號)
TICKETS: NT$450; available at the NTCH box office, by calling (02) 3393-9888 or online at www.artsticket.com.tw
"At first we thought about just an evening of the two of us, just duets," she said. "But then we thought it would be too tiring."
"People always ask me why I like to do duets. It's because it is easy to see pairs interacting - in families, in society, in relationships - every day," she said.
She said they decided on the Experimental Theater because they wanted a clear stage, no set - just a black box - which is a pretty good description of the small venue on the third floor of the National Theater complex. They also liked the intimacy the Experimental Theater provides, the closeness with the audience.
"Wei-ming's choreography is very detailed, from the tiniest movement of his fingertips to the way he moves each muscle in his back, so the audience needs to be close to see the nuances," she said, especially because in some of the pieces he is trying to avoid the spotlights on the stage.
"In my solo I am always reaching for the light but the light disappears. In Wei-ming's solo he is always trying to avoid the light and he ends up pushed into a small corner as he tries to stay out of the light," she said, adding the lighting is crucial to the show because of the lack of a set.
"We each choreographed our own solos and some of the duets and then that inspired the other in their work," she said, adding that the feedback they gave each other was crucial in developing the show.
"Wei-ming's choreography before was VERY dark; now people see a balance," she said.
They also each contributed one other dancer to the piece. Lin Hsiang-hsiu brought in Lin Ku-tai, one of her former students whom she used in Tilt last year.