Capital Ballet Taipei (台北首督芭蕾舞團) is one of those companies that can float under the radar for years, known mostly to a loyal fan base. Which is too bad because it has been around for 19 years, working hard to pursue a vision of ballet with a Taiwanese flavor in a country that has become a center for modern dance.
However, the company, founded by Hsu Chin-feng (徐進豐) and his wife Lee Shu-hui (李淑惠), has a higher profile this year, having won top prize in the performance arts category in the 7th Taishin Arts Award (第七屆台新藝術獎) last month for one of last year’s works, Surround (井), an exploration of spatial and temporal relationships.
The company’s output frequently focuses on the larger world outside the ballet studio, though still centering on Taiwan. For example, in January last year they performed Media Tycoon (媒體大亨), in which the protagonist gave up his family, friends and soul to gain wealth and power, while 2005’s Postman (郵差) examined the cyclical nature of human history.
Tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon the company will be performing a more mixed program, Ballet Pageant III (玩芭蕾3), a compilation of short ballets by four choreographers who have drawn on a diverse range of music and sources for their works.
The program begins with Life, To Be Continued (生命•未完待續), by dancer/choreographer Chiang Chiou-o (蔣秋娥), inspired by Franz Schubert’s plaintive string quartet Death and the Maiden (Der Tod und das Madchen) and his own travels in Europe. Jiang danced in Germany and elsewhere in Europe for several years, and was in When Ballet Meets Tchaikovsky by Taipei Chamber Ballet (台北室內芭蕾) two years ago.
Next up will be Hsu Chin-feng’s Salome (莎樂美), inspired by Oscar Wilde’s play about the Biblical heroine and set to music from Richard Strauss’ one-act opera of the same name. If the photos are anything to go by, this piece will be dramatic, with the dancer portraying Salome dancing a pas
de deux with John the Baptist’s head on
The third ballet will be At the Other End, Unexpected Encounter (在另一端遇見), choreographed by Lin Wei-hua (林惟華). This work, like Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, is a reflection of time spent with friends in years gone by, set to an eclectic mix of music by Yo-yo Ma (馬友友), Ennio Morricne and Lionel Richie.
The final work is Chicago Swans (芝加哥天鵝) by choreographer Liu Qiya (劉啟亞), which the company describes as an “elegant and wild work.”
WHAT: Capital Ballet Taipei, Ballet Pageant III
WHEN: Tomorrow at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: Metropolitan Hall (城市舞台), 25, Bade Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市八德路三段25號)
ADMISSION: Tickets are NT$400, NT$600, NT$800 and NT$1,000, available www.artsticket.com.tw
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE: Saturday, July 18 at 7:30pm at Chiayi Performing Arts Center (嘉義縣表演藝術中心演藝廳), 265, Jianguo Rd Sec 2, Minsyong Township, Chiayi County (嘉義縣民雄鄉建國路二段265號)
TICKETS: NT$250 to NT$400
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