Cloud Gate 2 (雲門２) is celebrating its 15th birthday this year and to mark the occasion, it is staging its most ambitious “Spring Riot” ever, featuring new works by three young(ish) choreographers and the revival of beloved favorite.
The shows at Taipei’s Novel Hall also herald a new chapter for the company, as they are the first under new artistic director Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍).
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門) founder and artistic director Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) had two goals when he established CG2 — it was to serve as a platform for young choreographers and it would promote dance nationwide through an outreach program. After the troupe’s original artistic director Lo Man-fei (羅曼菲) died of cancer in 2006, Lin took over running the troupe until he could find — or develop — a successor to Lo.
Cheng said yesterday that he wants to maintain the tradition of working with young choreographers and the outreach program, while gradually opening the door to collaborations with artists from different milieus.
“Spring Riot 2014” opens tonight with Cheng’s Dorian Gray (杜連魁), Bulareyaung Pagarlava’s Yaangad (椏幹) and Huang Yi’s Floating Domain (浮動的房間). At three hours, including two intermissions, it is the longest program the company has ever staged.
Dorian Gray is the first time Cheng has used a text — Oscar Wilde’s book — as inspiration.
“In the beginning [listening to the audiobook] I heard a voice in my mind, I saw dancing, some movements and it made me want to try a piece. I read it again and saw a different angle… But music is about feeling, emotions, so it was so difficult to combine these two together,” he said.
Bula said he also faced difficulties in trying to combine two genres for Yaangad, only in his case it was singing and dancing, Aboriginal traditions and Western choreography.
“Choreography is very Western, I know how to do this, but to add singing — it is very difficult,” Bula said.
He asked Pinuyumayan Aborigine singer/songwriter Sangpuy Katetepan to work with him and Sangpuy will be singing for each performance.
“I want to tell people: ‘Please come listen to my dance,’” Bula said.
Huang Yi has reworked Floating Domain, which he created for the company in 2010, building it up to 50 minutes.
“I don’t want to keep developing new ideas, to always have new ideas, like McDonald’s. I think maybe I should slow down … concentrate on a few topics,” he said.
For the second part of “Spring Riot,” which begins on Friday next week, the company is reviving Taiwanese choreographer Wu Kuo-chu’s (伍國柱) Oculus (斷章).
It is an incredibly moving piece, but hard to watch and not think of what might have been. Wu died of leukemia in 2006 at age 36, just two years after he became artistic director of Germany’s Staatstheater Kassel Dance Company. It is a tribute to his genius that Lin feels it is so important to keep this work alive.
WHAT: Spring Riot 2014
WHEN: Tonight to Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm
WHERE: Novel Hall (新舞臺), 3 Songshou Rd, Taipei City (台北市松壽路3號)
ADMISSION: NT$300 to NT$1,500; available at Novel Hall box office, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and 7-Eleven ibon kiosks
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES: May 2 at 7:30pm and May 3 at 2:30pm at the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Hsinchu County (新竹縣文化局演藝廳), 146 Hsiancheng 9th Rd, Chupei City, Hsinchu County (新竹縣竹北市縣政九路146號); May 9 at 7:30pm and May 10 at 2:30pm at Chungshan Hall (台中市文化局中山堂), 98 Syueshih Rd, Greater Taichung (台中市學士路98號); May 16 and 17 at 7:30, May 18 at 2:30pm at Da-Dong Cultural Center (大東文化藝術中心), 161 Guangyuan Rd, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市光遠路161號); ticket prices same as Taipei shows