Fri, Jun 12, 2015 - Page 12 News List

Floating through life and pretending

Two Taiwanese choreographers share a program at the National Theater for two shows this weekend. One examines the way we camouflage ourselves in our daily lives, while the second focuses on a key element of life — air

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

WCdance will perform founder and choreographer Lin Wen-chung’s latest work, Aerodynamics, at the National Theater tomorrow and Sunday as part of the 1+1 Dance: Meimage Dance & WCdance program.

Photo courtesy of Wu Chi-tsung

The National Theater Concert Hall’s (NTCH) latest 1+1 production pairs two Taiwanese choreographers whose small companies would rarely get the chance to perform on the complex’s main stage on their own — Ho Hsiao-mei (何曉玫) and her Meimage Dance (玫舞擊) plus Lin Wen-chung’s (林文中) WCdance (林文中舞團) — in one program.

Lin said it felt a little funny to share a double bill with Ho, because she had been one of his teachers when he was earning his bachelor’s degree at Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學), but it was not too weird because they did not actually collaborate, with each troupe presenting its own work.

The two pieces, and their inspirations, could not be more disparate.

Ho’s piece is entitled Camouflage (假裝), which she said is all about pretense — how humans wear masks when they interact with one another, how we are always pretending in our daily lives. She said she wants to know why, and she drove her six dancers crazy asking them so many questions during the initial rehearsals.

“I kept asking the dancers: When do you pretend? What do you do when you realize you are pretending? How do you know what is real?” she said.

“You have to take care of yourself, listen to yourself, take care of your mask; we are trying to make something true,” she added.

Ho said she was also intrigued by the movement and sounds people make when they are alone, when they are not worried that someone might be watching and what they are doing that proves they exist.

“I am fascinated with the pure, concentrated moment,” she said.

Ho said she developed six “paragraphs” or storylines for the 60-minute work, which sees all six dancers onstage for the entire performance.

Performance notes:

WHAT: 1+1 Dance: Meimage Dance & WCdance

WHEN: Tomorrow at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm

WHERE: National Theater (國家戲劇院), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號)

ADMISSION: NT$500 to NT$1,200; available at NTCH box offices, online at and at convenience chain store ticketing kiosks; only NT$700 seats left for tomorrow, NT$500 and 700 for Sunday.

“I don’t let the dancers go offstage, even when changing clothes, or when we are changing scenes. It is all on stage. The audience will see all the transitions. It is like trying to hide from the subconscious — even if you hide it, it is still there,” she said.

The six stories are a mix of real and imaginary, she said, adding that one was based on a friend who had fallen in love long-distance with a British man, who moved to Taiwan to be with her.

“They started living together, bought furniture, but then realized they couldn’t live together and he went back to Britain,” Ho said. “However, my friend said she was pretending that he was still here; that she would ‘talk to him’ went she went home. I wanted to make a dance for her.”

Ho said the score was crucial to her piece, which focuses on sounds instead of music.

“We put a microphone inside a table to pick up sounds of people touching the table, moving dishes, eating, going about normal life,” she said. ”The work is about the small gestures you make but you don’t know it.”

She turned to Coordt Linke, a German who lives in Taipei, whom she has worked with in the past, to create the soundscape.

While Ho pondered mankind’s attraction to masks, Lin was preoccupied with air, having moved on from liquids, which was the focus of his work last year, Long River (長河).

His piece, Aerodynamics (空氣動力學), was inspired by his past; he was in the model airplane club in high school and was once a national champion.

“I wanted to let the audience ‘see the air,’” Lin said, adding that the dancers are like dust motes — little particles that float through the air — allowing us to see the currents that propel them.

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