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.”
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩) is simple and extremely slow paced, told through the eyes of Han (Kao Yu-hsia, 高於夏), an introspective, shy grade schooler who lives with his great-grandmother in the verdant countryside. Han has a fascination with sparrows, which are either flying high in the sky or trapped in cages and nets, providing a constant metaphor throughout the film. In the most ironic scene, a man catches the birds just to charge people to set them free again, taking advantage of Buddhists who engage in the ritual of “releasing” animals from captivity. Han takes a badly injured sparrow home and