Two of the nation’s younger dance troupes are performing their latest works this weekend, Dancecology (舞蹈生態系創意團隊) in Taipei and HuiDance (匯舞集) in Greater Tainan. In an interesting quirk of fate, both shows were inspired by “momentary sparks of life,” both have a foreign dancer among the performers and the founders of the two troupes are both graduates of the Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA).
Dancecology was founded in 2009 by Peng Hsiao-yin (彭筱茵), a former member of the Neo-Classical Dance Company (新古典舞團) who received her MFA from TNUA’s Graduate Institute of Choreography. She wanted to focus on site-specific environmental theater, combining dance and ecology, which led to the company’s name. While her troupe frequently performs in outdoor locations, this weekend they are moving inside to the Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
HuiDance was founded two years later by Tainan-born and bred Tsai Hui-chen (蔡慧貞), who danced with Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) before moving to Switzerland, where she became a first soloist with the Stadttheater Bern Ballet and also danced as a guest with the Stadttheater Dortmound in Germany. She had studied dance and choreography at TNUA back when it was called National University of the Arts. When she decided to move back home, she did so with the intention of starting a dance troupe that could serve as a space for cross-cultural innovation and experimentation between different artistic genres.
Photo courtesy of Dancecology
Dancecology will be performing Synapse (突感觸發) on the second floor of Huashan’s Fruit Wine Building. Choreographed by Peng, the piece examines the unconscious triggers, the “sparks” that motivate the body’s synapses through a combination of multimedia effects, installations, music and dance. Peng’s choreography builds layers of movement, trying to discover what connects the human nervous system to the body.
The company’s four dancers will be joined by Frenchman Claude Aymon, a dancer, actor and musical performer who has been in Taiwan on-and-off for the past two years. He first came to Taiwan as part of the International Youth Dance Program to work with Zuoying High School in Greater Kaohsiung and the World Dance Alliance. He came back last year to be the artist-in-resident at the Bamboo Curtain Studio (竹圍工作室) in Tamsui District (淡水), New Taipei City (新北市).
Down in Greater Tainan, HuiDance will be performing Scenery (風景) at the Tainan Municipal Cultural Center.
Photo courtesy of Dancecology
Scenery was choreographed by Francesco D’Astici, the artistic director of I.T Fused Dance in Italy, who also worked with Tsai on the company’s show last year, The Door (門). D’Astici has danced with the Kiel Ballet in Germany and worked as a dancer on several musicals in London and other European capitals, as well as working with Matthew Bourne, including the lead role in Bourne’s all-male Swan Lake.
Scenery examines different life tracks, the moment they intersect and the intersection of dance and music and the ebb and flow of time. D’Astici uses a lot of dance improvisation, allowing the five dancers and three musicians (a keyboard player, cellist and violinist) to inspire and motivate one another. The work is divided into four scenes (hence the name): Scene of the Body, Scene of Memory, Scene of Depth and Scene of Four Seasons.
HuiDance will also perform Scenery in Taipei the following weekend, for three shows at the Red Theater in Xinminding (西門町).
Photo courtesy of Dancecology
WHEN: Tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914文創園區), Fruit Wine Building 2F (果酒禮堂2樓), 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號)
ADMISSION: NT$500; available at NTCH box offices, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and 7-Eleven ibon kiosks. Sunday’s matinee is sold out.
WHEN: Saturday at 2:30pm and 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: Tainan Municipal Cultural Center (台南市立台南文化中心國際廳原生劇場) at 332 Zhonghua E Rd, Greater Tainan (台南市中華東路3段332號)
ADMISSION: NT$500, available online at www.artsticket.com.tw and 7-Eleven ibon kiosks
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES: Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and Oct. 5 at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2:30pm at the Red House Theater (西門紅樓), 10 Chengdu Rd, Taipei City (台北市成都路10號). Admission: NT$700, available at NTCH box offices, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and 7-Eleven ibon kiosks
When the BBC approached Caroline Chia (查慧中) in July 2018, and asked her to make arrangements so a documentary-making team could gather footage showing how global warming may be increasing typhoon intensity, she delivered everything that was in her power to provide. Chia got permission for the BBC crew to shoot inside the Central Emergency Operation Center, film the army’s disaster-relief efforts and follow mayors around as they supervised the cleaning up. “In total, it was about one week of work for my cousin — who’s my business partner — and I,” recalls Chia, who was born in Taipei but
Taiwan’s artist community was outraged when the authorities banned Lee Shih-chiao’s (李石樵) Reclining Nude (橫臥裸婦) from the 1936 Taiyang Art Exhibition (台陽美術展覽會). The Taiwan Daily News (台灣日日新報) reported that after hours of deliberation, the officials censored the piece for “contravening public morals.” Although the government did have rules on publicly displaying nude art, the state-run Taiwan Fine Art Exhibition regularly featured naked women, allowing more revealing pieces each year. On the same page, the newspaper ran a scathing criticism of the decision by an anonymous artist. “This is completely laughable … If they really thought [Reclining Nude] contravened public morals, they
John Thomson was a pioneering photographer in the 19th century and one of the first to journey to East Asia. In 1871, while in China he met Dr James Laidlaw Maxwell, a fellow Scotsman who was returning to Taiwan, where he served as a Presbyterian missionary. Maxwell’s description of Taiwan intrigued Thomson, and the photographer decided to accompany Maxwell to the island then known to Westerners as Formosa. Disembarking at Takow (today’s Kaohsiung) on April 2, 1871, Thomson brought with him the best photography equipment of his time, along with thousands of glass plates — an estimated 200kg of equipment. The
If you think Leaving Virginia is going to be Taiwan’s modern-day version of American Pie, leave after the first 15 minutes. It starts that way, an ode to those hormone-crazed teenage years as Big D (Isaac Yang, 楊懿軒) tries to lose his virginity on his 18th birthday but his Christian girlfriend rejects his advances and storms off. His best friend Zulie (Ng Siu Hin, 吳肇軒), convinces Big D that he will be rendered impotent if he doesn’t lose his virginity by the end of his 18th birthday, setting off the course of events. It feels like the rest of the film