Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 11 News List

Dancing at technology’s edge

As a youngster, Huang Yi dreamed about having a robot companion. Now he has one as a dance partner and creative muse

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

He said he understands the need for caution and he is not going to be reckless about interacting with the robot.

“KUKA is still used in industry; it is really powerful, and if some emergency happens, it won’t stop. If someone doesn’t know the movement program [it could be dangerous], but I know,” he said. “I still use safety limits. Even though it looks really close, I still care about safety.”


Huang said he has continued to tinker with KUKA and the show since returning from New York City.

“It is slightly different, I changed some positions. Still have some things I can improve … the transitions, but the main parts are still mostly the same,” he said.

However, he said the three-month 3LD residency had a major influence on the work.

“There are so many other dancers and performances in New York, you can exchange ideas. Also, the artists at 3LD gave me some ideas. I wanted the dancers to have as much time in New York to explore the city so that they would have new ideas, so they can explore their bodies,” he said.

It takes a long time to choreograph for a robot, he said, noting that one-to-two minutes of movement takes 10 to 20 hours of programming.

Huang said he is also tinkering with the stage at the Cloud Gate Theater.

“The space is beautiful, but I have taken off the black marley [a dance flooring], the stage floor is wood, really beautiful. I am also trying to take out some of the curtains so the space looks really wide,” he said.

After this weekend’s shows, Huang, KUKA and company will head to the US in September for a tour of four university campuses, starting at the University of Maryland, College Park on Sept. 25, plus a trip to New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi in March next year. Then he is going to give KUKA some time off.

“I will put KUKA away for two or three years, then do another version,” he said, adding that he has already been working on a project with Berlin-based Japanese sound/video/installation artist Ryoichi Kurokawa called Under the Horizon, which is about the world of shadows.

He said he will showcase that piece at the end of this year, but it will not premiere until 2017.

Performance notes:

WHAT: Huang Yi & KUKA

WHEN: Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm, Sunday at 4pm

WHERE: Cloud Gate Theater (淡水雲門劇場), 36, Ln 6, Zhongzheng Rd Sec 1, New Taipei City (新北市中正路一段6巷36號)

ADMISSION: Only seats left are NT$600 and 800 for Friday and Saturday nights; the other shows are sold out. Available at NTCH box offices, online at or and at convenience store kiosks nationwide. For more information, call (02) 2692-8711.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Cloud Gate Theater can be reached by the 836 public bus from the Tamsui MRT station. There will be a Q&A session after each show.

This story has been amended to correct the name of Huang Yi's company since it was first published.

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