The all-male dance collective Horse Dance Theater (驫舞劇場) is no longer the new kid on the block. Founded in December 2004, the troupe has a long list of productions under its belt, both at home and abroad, as well as several awards.
Part of its appeal has been the changing roster of men who have performed with the company over the years, including several who have gone on to make a name for themselves individually both as choreographers and dancers, such as Chou Shu-yi (周書毅) and Huang Yi (黃翊).
For Horse co- founder and artistic director Chen Wu-kang (陳武康), this flexibility helps the company pursue its quest for multi-faceted and diverse styles of dance and productions.
The company’s latest show, To Every Man His Dog (男人與狗), performed this weekend in the Shuiyuan Theater on Roosevelt Road, features three younger members, Huang Huai-de (黃懷德), Huang Yong-huai (黃詠淮) and Cheng Hao (鄭皓).
Huang Huai-de has been developing strongly in recent year after showing promise with his piece, A House Male, which was selected for the National Theater’s New Productions of Emerging Taiwanese Choreographers program in 2008. It was one of the standouts on the program.
Chen said his main role for this show was providing advice, but otherwise he left the choreographic and artistic decisions up to the trio, though he admits he was not thrilled with the title.
“They like it. They think a dog is a best friend, so you can talk to a dog. I suggested another animal, but they can’t do it. For them, it’s like talking to an object, like a piece of furniture,” Chen said in a telephone interview on Tuesday from the set where he is acting in a movie, hence his limited participation in this project.
What: To Every Man His Dog (男人與狗)
When: Tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm, tomorrow and Sunday at 2:30pm
Where: Taipei City Shuiyuan Theater (台北市水源劇場), 10F, 92, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段92號10樓)
Admission: NT$500; available through NTCH box office or online at www.artsticket.com.tw or at 7-Eleven iBon kiosks
Additional Performancess: June 15 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm and June 16 at 2:30pm in Greater Kaohsiung at Building 281 Preparatory Office, Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts (高雄縣衛武營藝術文化中心籌備處), 449-1 Nanjing Rd, Fengshan District, (高雄市鳳山區南京路449-1號). Tickets are NT$400
He said he couldn’t really describe the piece, but he was full of enthusiasm for the men’s talent.
“I can’t tell you if its a good piece, choreographically wise, but they dance fantastically. I only say [that] I can’t change them, I shouldn’t. I can only help by pointing out some blank spots,” he said. “They dance better, better, with more power. They dance with everything, really juicy. At least they dance fabulously, they’re not walking around acting a lot, feeling sentimental … so I am satisfied.”
He is excited about the theater, a new venue for the company.
“The stage is bigger, wider. Three hundred seats, so we can sell more tickets,” he said.
Chen was also admiring of the set, by installation artist Wang Jian-yang (王建揚).
“His work usually has a lot of nudity. He’s very hot. I don’t know how he convinces so many women and men to take off their clothes. This is the first time he has been set designer. He took lots of stuff from our studio in Banchiao and next door ... fridges, tv, stairs. It’s great,” Chen said.
After this weekend’s performance, Horse will perform next month in Greater Kaohsiung.