Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Lessons from an orchid

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

E-Dance Theater is performing cofounder and choreographer Fan Xiang-jun’s newest work, Reminders from a Moth Orchid, at the Experimental Theater in Taipei for three shows this weekend.

Photo Courtesy of E-Dance Theater

It has been just over two years since E-Dance Theater (伊舞集) has appeared at the Experimental Theater in Taipei, a lengthy absence from the stage that can partially be explained by cofounder and choreographer Fan Xiang-jun’s (樊香君) academic schedule. She has been working on a doctorate in dance research at Taipei National University of the Arts (國立臺北藝術大學), following up on her master’s in dance theory from the school, which she received in 2011.

However, Fan says she does not want to feel that she has to produce new piece every year just to keep being noticed.

“To me, the creative thing cannot be ‘scheduled,’” she said in an e-mail.

“But basically, I am just living, and trying to feel my life as deeply as possible through all the people, things, plants, world surrounding me,” she added.

Fan took a circuitous route to working as a choreographer, turning to dance full-time after graduating with two bachelor’s degrees — in diplomacy and Russian — from National Cheng-chi University. She was a dancer with the Taipei Folk Dance Theater (台北民族舞團) from 2006 to 2011, where she learned traditional Chinese and Taiwanese dances, and began working with the Xinxin Nanguan Ensemble (心心南管樂坊) in 2009 to learn about nanguan from its founder, Wang Xin-xin (王心心), an internationally renowned master of nanguan music.

All these different studies have given her a unique basis for her work for E-Dance Theater, which she founded with her sister, Jasmine (樊怡君), in 2007.

The company’s last production, Dreams in Mirror (大觀夢), was inspired by the Chinese literary classic Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢). This time around, Fan’s inspiration was a tiny bit more prosaic — a pot of orchids she received as a birthday present from her mother — and more metaphysical — the Buddha’s teachings.

Performance notes

What: Reminders from a Moth Orchid

When: Tomorrow at 2:30pm and 7:30pm, 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, online at and at 7-Eleven ibon and other convenience store ticket kiosks

She said she got busy and forgot to water and care for the orchids. She was worried that the flowers would die, but discovered that despite her lack of care, the orchids were not only still alive, but new buds had appeared.

Life has its own state, she said, adding that through the blossoms and smell of flowers, Buddha reminds us to be aware of “presence.”

That thought made her ponder the question of existence. If existing is merely a dream between life and death, why do we need to be aware of “presence,” she wondered. If we do focus on “presence,” what kind of difference will it make in our lives?

What about transitions, if everything is as fleeting as a dream, she said.

The title of this weekend’s work, Reminders from a Moth Orchid (泥花帖), comes from that birthday gift. The 50-minute piece is set on four dancers, to a score by Cheng Wen (成文).

This story has been amended since first published to correct showtimes.

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