Never say never.
There have been rumors for the past two year that Kaohsiung City Ballet (KCB, 高雄城市芭蕾舞團) founder Chang Hsiu-ru (張秀如) was going to scrap the annual Dance Shoe (點子鞋) programs that had showcased both her senior dancers and young Taiwanese choreographers since 2004.
The shows have always been an eclectic mix of duets, quartets and small group pieces, classically inclined technique and more contemporary efforts, some with toes shoes and others danced in bare feet, but there have always been more hits than misses, keeping the programs interesting for both the dancers and those watching.
It is not easy giving up a winning formula, especially when ballet is always playing second-fiddle to modern dance’s domination in Taiwan, and so, despite the odds, the KCB is returning to the Experimental Theater in Taipei this weekend for three performances of Dance Shoe 2014. Chang is nothing if not determined to ensure there is a regular supply of Taiwanese ballet projects to keep the art form in front of local audiences and remind them that there are alternatives to swan flocks regularly imported by foreign troupes.
This year’s program features works by six choreographers, with the usual mix of several familiar names and one or two newcomers: Lin Yin-li (林怡利), Wang Wei-ming (王維銘), Wang Kuo-chuen (王國權), Chang Chung-an (張忠安), Tsai Po-chen (蔡博丞) and Dai Ting-ru (戴鼎如).
Old favorite Wang Kuo-chuan, who has lots of experience dancing and choreographing for companies in Europe, and Tsai are marking their fifth appearances on the creative team’s roster, while Chang and former Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) dancer Wang Wei-ming were each asked back for a second time. An upbeat piece by Wang Wei-ming capped off last year’s show, leaving this reviewer eager to see more of her work.
WHAT: Dance Shoe 2014
WHEN: Tomorrow at 2:30pm and 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: Experimental Theater (國家實驗劇場), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號)
ADMISSION: NT$500, available at NTCH box offices or online at www.artsticket.com.tw and at 7-Eleven ibon kiosks.
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES: Jan. 25 at 7:30pm and Jan. 26 at 2:30pm at Kaohsiung Cultural Center’s Chihteh Hall (高雄市文化中心至德堂), 67 Wufu 1st Rd, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市五福一路67號). Tickets are NT$400; available online at www.artsticket.com.tw and at 7-Eleven ibon kiosks
Lin and Dai are the newbies in this year’s production.
The six choreographers have diverse backgrounds and interests, which is reflected in their choice of subject matter and music for their pieces, each of which is very different from the others. Dance Shoe 2014 appears certain to raise the bar for ballet lovers once again.