Fri, Oct 29, 2010 - Page 13 News List

A world of dance at bargain-basement prices

Tickets for next week’s performances by Dance Forum Taipei are going for a song

By Diane Baker  /  Staff Reporter

Dance Forum Taipei dancers rehearse Like an Olive Tree by Spanish choreographer Marina Mascarell, who is a member of the Nederlands Dans Theater. The company will perform next week at Taipei’s Novel Hall.

Photo: Courtesy of Dance Forum Taipei

Bargain-hunter alert: the Council of Cultural Affairs is offering the deal of the decade! For anyone who has felt that tickets to performances were too expensive, Dance Forum Taipei (舞蹈空間舞蹈團) — one of just a handful of professional dance companies in the country — will be performing two brand-new works at Taipei’s Novel Hall on Thursday and next Friday, and the tickets are just NT$200 and NT$300.

That’s not just a bargain; it’s a steal, considering that tickets for the company’s last two shows — at the National Theater in June and at Novel Hall a year ago — were priced between NT$400 and NT1,500. The best deals, however, went to the early birds who snapped up the NT$100 tickets.

How can the company afford to perform at such prices?

“It’s the Council of Cultural Affairs Festival of Art and Technology, it’s all related to new media. We’re the opening program and all the money goes back to the government, that’s why the ticket prices are so low,” Dance Forum Taipei founder and director Ping Heng (平珩) said in a telephone interview last week.

She was thrilled that the NT$100 seats were gone by the beginning of the month, especially since the promotional materials were late. That’s what happens when a festival is organized by a committee — in this case by the council, Huashan 1914 Cultural and Creative Industry and the Taiwan Information Software Association.

“They asked us [to collaborate] in August and we thought it was a good idea because we might be able to attract a different audience, not just dance fans, but new technology people as well,” Ping said.

One of the reasons she jumped on board was the company’s plans to feature digital technology in its annual fall show, in works created by three foreign dancer-choreographers: Australians Lisa Griffiths and Adam Synnott and Spaniard Marina Mascarell Martinez.

“We started planning the show last year. We had been talking with Adam and Lisa since then. Adam is a dancer, choreographer and also does new media. Usually you need to work with two different artists, a choreographer and a new media person, but Adam can do both,” she said.

Asked how the company came to work with the two — who are both veterans of Melbourne’s famed Chunky Move (which is in Taipei next week as well) — Ping credited Asia Link, a center at the University of Melbourne that promotes social, cultural and political exchanges between Australia and its Asian neighbors.

“They have contacts with 40 or 50 groups. They used to send artists to the Artists Village ... and they are always recommending artists who have potential, who are up and coming. They recommended Lisa and Adam,” Ping said.

“As for Marina, when we performed in Amsterdam last year the promoter there recommended her. The promoter thinks there needs to be another Taiwanese company besides Cloud Gate [on the international circuit]. The promoter wanted to develop something based on our Eastern Promises,” she said. “First the promoter suggested a Brazilian choreographer, but we couldn’t work out the scheduling ... so the promoter then recommended some young choreographers, including Marina. We hadn’t worked with a female choreographer for a while, so I thought it would be good to try.”

Neither the company nor the choreographers had much time to develop the two works that make up the Long Take program, but Ping said Griffiths and Mascarell worked very hard.

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