Dance lovers looking for a Valentine’s Day treat need look no further than the Experimental Theater this weekend, where the Kaohsiung City Ballet (KCB, 高雄城市芭蕾舞團) will be premiering Dance Shoe 2009 (2009點子鞋).
KCB founder Chang Hsiu-ru (張秀如) began the Dance Shoe series six years ago to provide a platform for ballet choreographers, and it has been a boon to the choreographers, KCB dancers and audiences alike. For the choreographers, most of whom are freelancers, it is a key opportunity to have their work seen, while the dancers learn to work in a variety of styles and with a variety of personalities.
There are six choreographers in this year’s lineup. Janet Chang (張慈妤), Kao Hsin-yu (高辛毓) and Chang Ya-ting (張雅婷) all took part in Dance Shoe 2008, while Wang Kuo-chuen (王國權) had a piece in the 2007 show. Chien Liang-che (簡良哲) is truly a new face, and the sixth, former Thomas/Ortiz Dance Company dancer Yeh Ming-hwa (葉名樺), is new to Dance Shoe, although her collaboration with Chen Wu-kang (陳武康) — Dimmer — was in last August’s New Productions of Emerging Taiwanese Choreographers series at the Experimental Theater.
Chang was Yeh’s first ballet teacher and Yeh danced with the KCB for several years. Yeh said her former teacher called her several months ago and asked her to create a piece for this year’s show.
“I just started to choreograph recently so I think she wanted to give me a chance,” Yeh said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
“My piece is called Tightrope Walker (走索人). It’s a duet for myself and a friend. She’s the same age and we used to dance together at KCB. She was also in Dimmer,” Yeh said.
Set to the music of John Cage and Johann Sebastian Bach, the piece explores the themes of balance, stability and trust, things Yeh said are key to both a ballerina on point and a tightrope walker.
WHAT: Kaohsiung City Ballet, Dance Shoe 2009
WHEN: Tomorrow at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm in Taipei; Feb. 21 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm in Tainan; March 7 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm in Fengshen, Kaohsiung County
WHERE: Experimental Theater (國家戲劇院實驗劇場), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號); Eslite Bookstore (台南誠品書店), B2, 181, Changrong Rd Sec 1, Tainan City (台南市長榮路一段181號 B2); Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts (高雄縣衛武營藝術文化中心), 449-1, Nanjing Rd, Fengshan City, Kaohsiung County (高雄縣鳳山市南京路449-1號)
TICKETS: NT$400 for the Taipei shows; NT$300 for Tainan and Fengshen; available through NTCH ticketing or online
at www.artsticket.com.tw. The evening show in Tainan
is sold out
When asked what inspired her, Yeh laughed and said: “First, Miss Chang said told me we had to wear point shoes.”
“I wanted to do something different, not dance on point. I tried several things … but in the end I told myself we could dance in a line, just change the steps,” she said. “It’s about trying to find your balance.”
Dance Shoe 2009 will also be performed twice in Tainan on Feb. 21 and twice in Fengshan, Kaohsiung County, on March 7.