Mon, Oct 25, 2010 - Page 0 News List

[ THE WEEKENDER ] From train stations to asylums

By Diane Baker  /  Staff Reporter

Banciao Train Station (板橋火車站) is not the place one might expect to watch a modern dance performance, but several hundred people paused for — or came specifically to see — performances of choreographer Chou Shu-yi’s (周書毅) 1875 Ravel and Bolero on Saturday. The 25-minute 1875 is the piece that made Chou the winner of the first Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest last November, bringing not just recognition of his talent, but a chance to have it performed at the famed London theater in January. His fledgling troupe, Shu-yi & (Dancers) Company, also performed the work in New York at the beginning of this month as part of NY City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival.

On Saturday his dancers showed their flexibility by admirably adapting the piece to the limits of the station’s central hall — to the point of utilizing a near-by escalator to make one of their exits. For the most part people not interested in the show tried to respect the 5pm performance, but there was one determined gray-haired pair who weren’t willing to walk around to get to an escalator and walked right through the dancers.

1875 is a light-hearted romp, filled with falls, screaming and twirls. Lin Yu-ju (林祐如), who was one of the inspirations for the piece, led the troupe in an enthusiastic performance.

I left the Experimental Theater on Saturday night in a puzzled mood after seeing I (我), the latest production of the all-male troupe Horse (驫舞劇場). To begin with, only three members of the company actually performed the work, although all five were on set for the cocktail party that began the piece, greeting friends and encouraging audience members to come down and grab a glass.

Su Wei-chia (蘇威嘉), Chang Tzu-ling (張子凌) and newcomer Tsai Pao-chang (蔡柏璋), who usually works with the Tainaner Ensemble (台南人劇團), yelped, grunted and giggled as they pushed, poked and prodded one another while sitting on a hospital bed frame and then later on the floor.

The bed, along with their costumes, lent an air of mental hospital to the proceedings, though the movements and actions of the trio ranged from infantile to somewhat deranged. Artistic director Chen Wu-kang (陳武康) said “you can’t quite recognize who these people are, but at the same time you know you have met them before,” and I have to agree. Unfortunately, they most reminded me of boys on the playground when I was in elementary school. Instead of a backdrop, Horse stretched a tarp across the ceiling, projecting video of clouds and crashing waves that at times was more interesting than what was happening onstage. There was a kernel of a good idea in I, it just never popped. Horse takes the show to Tainan next weekend for four performances, starting Friday night, at the Tainan Human Theater Factory (台南人戲工場).

While Gordon Tsai (蔡聰明) was confident on Thursday that the Dream Community’s (夢想社區) annual Dream Parade would go ahead on Saturday, Mother Nature had other ideas. While the skies turned out to be clear in Taipei on Saturday, the rain and winds brought by Typhoon Megi had taken their toll on roads along the east coast on Friday, and Tsai said about 70 percent of the groups scheduled to be in the parade notified him that they wouldn’t be able to get to Taipei.

“Especially those groups from Taitung and from Pingtung County, they couldn’t make it, so we decided to cancel the parade,” Tsai said yesterday. “We are trying to reschedule, maybe for two or three weeks from now.”

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