Fri, Sep 18, 2009 - Page 14 News List

DANCE: Sparks fly in ‘Electron’

By Diane Baker  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Dancer/choreographer Sun Chuo-tai (孫梲泰) decided to call his company 8213 Physical Dance Theater (8213肢體舞蹈劇場) because he wanted the name to convey the idea that the company and its productions would be about more than “just dance.”

He wanted to break the mold, blur the boundaries between the dancers and the audience, between dance and theater, between movement and text — as well as examine the connections between them.

Connections, or rather the growing lack of them, are a common theme in Sun’s work. He examines them once again in the company’s newest production, Electron (電子), which began a four-day run at the Guling Street Theater (牯嶺街小劇場) last night.

“Electron ... We wanted to bring down the size of electricity, wanted to give a feeling to the topic, so we chose loneliness,” Sun said on Monday during an interview at the theater. “In society we have a lot of gadgets now, we don’t need to talk to one another. We’re a little more removed today.”

He said he wanted to examine what the proliferation of technology in our everyday life is doing to us.

“Last year my house lost electricity for one week. I thought ‘Oh, my God,’ it’s not convenient. Just to do your normal life — if you want to go to the bathroom, there is no light. I’m also a businessman; I need a cellphone, a laptop, a lot of electronics,” Sun said. “If you forget your cellphone, you panic. These things control your life.”

“We use these things to create a distance. We are connected but you don’t need to see one another. There are ‘no feelings,’ people even break-up by electronic devices. So finally we are at a great distance [from each other]. You close yourself off or use iPods to disconnect,” he said.

PERFORMANCE NOTES:

WHAT: 8213 Physical Dance Theater (8213肢體舞蹈劇場), Electron (電子)

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

WHERE: Guling Street Theater (牯嶺街小劇場), 2, Ln 5, Guling St, Taipei City (台北市牯嶺街5巷2號)

ADMISSION: Tickets are NT$280, available through www.artsticket.com.tw or at the door

ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE: Sept. 25 at 7:30pm at the Hsinchu Iron-Roof Theater (新竹鐵屋頂劇場), 3F, 1, Ln 227, Gongyuan Rd, Hsinchu City (新竹市公園路227巷1號3樓)


The company has been rehearsing the piece for four months, although the project has been in the works for a year. It’s a smaller production than last year’s Boundless: My Bliss (無國界—我的天堂), featuring just Sun, dancer/choreographer Casey Avaunt and an old classmate and colleague of Sun’s from National Taiwan University of the Arts and Taipei Dance Forum, who now goes by the name of Yogi (Chan Tien-chen, 詹天甄).

While Sun said the smaller number of dancers was both a budgetary and a creative decision, it did allow him to add a musician, Chen Shih-hsing (陳世興), for both the rehearsals and the performances.

Sun and Avaunt collaborated on the choreography. A big part of the process, they said, was working out the “why” of each movement.

To reflect electricity, the movements have a lot of vibration and sharp moves, they said, adding that they had to create the basic movements and then find a way to explain to themselves and others “why we are doing this movement.”

“The idea was clear in the beginning, the rehearsals just worked it out,” Avaunt said, though Sun was quick to add that the “working out” meant a lot of negotiating.

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