Fri, Apr 17, 2015 - Page 12 News List

Cloud Gate 2 prepares to take center stage

The smaller of the two companies in the Cloud Gate family will have the honor of performing the first show at Cloud Gate Theater, the troupe’s new 450-seat complex in Tamsui

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Cloud Gate 2 will perform artistic director Cheng Tsung-lung’s Beckoning as part of its Spring Riot 2015 tour, which opens on Friday next week at the new Cloud Gate Theater in Tamsui, New Taipei City.

Photo courtesy of Lee Chia-yeh

Next Friday is a big day for the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) family as they throw open the doors of their new home, the Cloud Gate Theater in Tamsui, New Taipei City, to the public.

It also marks the start of a much bigger role for the dancers of the 16-year-old Cloud Gate 2 (雲門 2), which is often seen as the “junior troupe” instead of the polished, seasoned company and platform for works by rising Taiwanese choreographers that it is.

It is Cloud Gate 2 that has the honor of the inaugural performances at the new complex, which houses the two dance companies and the Cloud Gate Culture and Arts Foundation, and includes a 450-seat theater, a 1,500 person outdoor theater and two studios.

Cloud Gate 2 starts a 14-show run of their annual Spring Riot production at the indoor theater, before taking the show on the road to Taichung and Kaohsiung.

This year’s Spring Riot features three works: Beckoning (來) by the troupe’s artistic director, Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍); Hell Groove (衝撞天堂) by Chen Yun-ju’s (陳韻如) and Horde (暫時而已) by Huang Huai-te (黃懷德).

The 39-year-old Cheng has a strong track record of critically acclaimed dances for the company, such as The Wall (牆). On the Road (在路上), which Cheng directed solo, won the 2012 Taishin Arts Award for Performing Arts and Best Group at Premio Roma Danza’s First International Choreographic Competition in July 2011. The other two choreographers are no fledglings, although this is the first time they have choreographed for company.

The presence of Chen on the program ends a long drought of new works by female choreographers for the troupe.

Like Cheng, an alumni of Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學), the 31-year-old Chen has spent most of her career in Germany, where she danced with the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau. She has stayed in touch with the Taipei dance scene with regular trips home to perform both her own choreography and others’ works. Her solo pieces for Meimage Dance’s (玫舞擊) new choreographer project, Playback in 2012 and Breathing (呼吸) in 2013, showed both her incredible versatility as a dance and a fine grasp of choreographic necessities.

Since 2009 she has also worked with Torsten Blume, artistic director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, on Play Bauhaus’s dance installations, including Hallway and Apparatus. It will be interesting to see how she handles working with a larger group in Hell Groove.

Huang is a graduate of National Taiwan University of Arts (國立臺灣藝術大學) and has choreographed with Horse (驫舞劇場) and for the Kaohsiung City Ballet (高雄城市芭蕾舞團) as well as on his own, with I Had a Chair at Dance Round Table/New Asian Inspiration (圓桌舞蹈計畫/亞裔新思維) in 2013. This is his first time working with a larger number of dancers.

There will be Q&A sessions with the choreographers after each of the shows in Tamsui and after the shows on May 16 in Taichung and May 22 in Kaohsiung.

Tickets for the Tamsui shows have been selling well and there are seats left for just three shows, on May 2, May 7 and May 8.

Cloud Gate has organized free shuttle buses to take ticketholders from the Tamsui MRT Station to a parking lot near the theater, leaving about an hour before each performance. For example, for a 2pm show, the bus departure times are between 12: 50pm and 1:10pm, while for an 8pm show, the shuttles will depart between 6:50pm and 7:10pm.

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