Fri, May 22, 2009 - Page 14 News List

Dances for everyone

By Diane Baker  /  STAFF REPORTER


There is something for almost everyone and every wallet in dance this weekend in Taipei, ranging from new works by one of Britain’s hottest choreographers and one of Taiwan’s emerging talents to a revival of the Kaohsiung City Ballet’s favorite full-length ballet, The Peony Pavilion.

Wayne McGregor has been making waves in the British dance world since he established his own company, Wayne McGregor Random Dance in 1992, when he was just 22. He is not only creating a new idiom for modern dancers, he is shaking up the staid ballet world as well. Three years ago the Royal Ballet made him its resident choreographer, the first time that post had been filled in 16 years.

His works can be found in the repertoire of companies on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Paris Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Stuttgart Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.

McGregor’s choreography is physically and mentally challenging, for dancers and audiences alike, fast-paced and technically difficult. The company will perform his newest work, the hour-long, 10 dancer Entity, which premiered just last month at Sadlers Wells Theatre in London, as the second entry in the Novel Hall Dance 2009 series.

Watching video clips of Entity, and other of McGregor’s works, on the company’s Web site, it is hard to see how the human body, no matter how supple, can be twisted and worked into such a variety of shapes and moves.

Another choreographer who is building a reputation for challenging works is Taipei-born Lin Wen-chung (林文中), now 36. His company, WcDance, had its first show last year at Taipei’s Crown Theater, earning enthusiastic reviews. But even before that show, the Experimental Theater booking staff were already in touch with him about creating a new work for their site.


WHAT: WCdance, Small Songs

WHEN: Tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm, tomorrow and Sunday at 2:30pm

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)

TICKETS: NT$500; available at NTCH or online at

WHAT: Wayne McGregor/Random Dance, Entity

WHEN: Tonight and tomorrow at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm

WHERE: Novel Hall (新舞臺), 3-1 Songshou Rd, Taipei City (台北市松壽路3-1號)

TICKETS: NT$500 to NT$2,000, available through ERA ticketing or online at

WHAT: Kaohsiung City Ballet, The Peony Pavilion

WHEN AND WHERE: Tomorrow at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm at Metropolitan Hall (城市舞台), 25, Bade Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市八德路三段25號); June 6 at 7:30pm at the Taichung County Seaport Art Center (台中縣立港區藝術中心), 21 Chungchen Rd, Chingshui Township, Taichung County (台中縣清水鎮忠貞路21號); June 13 at 7:30pm at the Hsinchu City Performing Arts Center (新竹市立文化中心) and July 4 at 7:30pm at the Chiteh Hall, National Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center, Kaohsiung City (高雄中正文化中心至德堂), 67 Wufu 1st Rd, Kaohsiung City (高雄市五福一路67號)

TICKETS: NT$400 to 1,000 and available at

“They invited me to do the show even before the premiere of Small, so since they arrange their program a year ahead, this [month] was when they had time,” Lin said in an interview at a Tien Mu coffee shop last week.

Lin had just about four months to put together the new piece, Small Dances, which was a big challenge, since he usually prefers to spend a long time crafting a new work — it took him three years to finish Evil Boy.

He likes challenges, however, as shown by his decision to enclose his dancers in a small cube of space for Small (2007).

This time around he gave them more space, a whole meter, but he reconfigured the seating arrangement in the theater.

“I changed the seating in the theater to three-sided, with a stage in the center. A white floor, lighting around the small 20cm high platform. It is still a small space but its 1m wider than before,” he said.

Small Songs is also more commercial, he said, more romantic, set to 13 songs with the theme from the movie PS I Love You serving as a chorus or segue.

Admitting that a romantic love story is not his usual fare, Lin said the images were “more like a simple picture, a picture of a Martha Stewart lifestyle, it’s a dream but most people like it.”

Romance is also on the program for the Kaohsiung City Ballet (KCB, 高雄城市芭蕾舞團), which has revived its 2007 production The Peony Pavilion or Mudanting (牡丹亭) for a four-city tour, starting tomorrow night at the Metropolitan Hall.

Mudanting is the love story of Du Li-niang (杜麗娘), the daughter of a top official, who falls in love with a man she meets in a dream and then pines away when she is unable to recapture the enchantment of that dream.

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