Fri, Jun 12, 2015 - Page 10 News List

Dance: From toe shoes to foot tapping and in between

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

The Russian Festival Ballet will be performing three ballets at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall on Saturday and Sunday as part of the company’s current tour of Taiwan: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet.

Photo Courtesy of the Russian Festival Ballet

It seems everywhere you turn this weekend there will be dancing in Taipei, on stages great and small, and something for almost every budget and taste.

In addition to the 1+1 Dance: Meimage Dance & WCdance show at the National Theater (see page 12), the Russian Festival Ballet is making its annual tour of the nation, choreographer/dancer Lee Zi-da (李治達) is presenting his latest work at a small venue on Dihua Street (迪化街) and the Compania Manuel Linan is bringing its flamenco flair to the Dadaocheng Theater.

It is hard to keep track of the Russian Festival Ballet (RFB), not only because the 26-year-old company is always on the road, but because its name appears as flexible as its dancers.

The RFB was formed in 1989 by premier danseur and choreographer Timour Fayziev, but two year later it changed its name to the Moscow Ballet. However, it still bills itself as the RFB for its tours of Taiwan for some reason, while elsewhere it is known as the Moscow Ballet RFB or the Ballet of Moscow — though not to be confused with the Moscow Festival Ballet led by former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Sergei Radchenko.

Whatever it is called, the RFB is known as a strong second-tier troupe that gives basic productions of the traditional 19th century Romantic ballet canon, plus some 20th-century works based on William Shakespeare’s classics, all of which call for a strong corps de ballet who can dance day after day, night after night with few breaks, as well as pretty basic sets.

The company is appearing three times at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall over the weekend, which means the recorded soundtracks will sound horrible.

Performances are The Nutcracker tomorrow afternoon, Swan Lake tomorrow night and Romeo and Juliet on Sunday afternoon.

The company heads south on Monday, with stops in Kaohsiung, Chiayi, Tainan and Yuanlin, before wrapping up in Taichung next weekend.

Meanwhile, Lee is taking over the tiny Thinkers’ Theater on Dihua Street for his latest creation, PaiTei Men (白體人).

The 28-year-old Lee, who hails from Hsinchu, received his bachelor’s degree from Taipei National University of Arts in 2009, and has produced about a work a year since then, in between returning to school for a graduate degree.

He mines daily life and experiences for inspiration for his work and PaiTei Men looks at the anachronistic absurdity of the journey of life, asking who are the trip leaders and who are the followers.

The program notes say the piece is dedicated to Taipei.

Moving down Dihua Street, but up in scale, dance lovers will find Compania Manuel Linan, a flamenco troupe from Spain that will be performing Linan’s latest creation, Nomada tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon at the Dadaocheng Theater.

Linan is one of the leading proponents of “new” flamenco, and the cast of six dancers, including Linan, three singers and two guitarists won rave reviews when they appeared at the Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival in London in March.

The cheapest seats (NT$800) are already sold out for both shows.

Performance notes

WHAT: Russian Festival Ballet

WHEN: Tomorrow at 2:30pm (The Nutcracker) and 7:30pm (Swan Lake), Sunday at 2:30pm (Romeo and Juliet)

WHERE: National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國立國父紀念館), 505, Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市仁愛路4段505號)

ADMISSION: NT$600 to NT$3,600; available at the door, ERA ticketing or online at www.ticket.com.tw and at convenience chain store ticketing kiosks

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