Thu, Jan 28, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Dance review: Winning programs from southern Taiwan

‘Maataw’ delivers a biting indictment of the treatment of Orchid Island’s Tao community, while KCB’s latest Dance Shoe production validates founder Chang Hsiu-ru’s goals for the program

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

As I watched the final part of the show, I found it hard to believe that a government agency — the Council of Indigenous Peoples — paid for the production, given the level of criticism of government policies. During a brief after-show chat with one of the production team, it turns out that the council “hated the second act, but because the songs are indigenous songs, they couldn’t do anything about it.”

Maataw begins a national tour in March, with performances in Tainan (March 5), Hualien (March 12), Pingtung County (April 9), Lanyu (May 7) and Taoyuan (May 14). The program said tickets will be available online through, although I have not been able to find the listings yet, or by calling the foundation at (03) 864-2290.

For those who missed it in Taipei, this is a show worth traveling to see.

At the invitation of Kaohsiung City Ballet (KCB, 高雄城市芭蕾舞團) founder Chang Hsiu-ru (張秀如), I traveled to Kaohsiung on Saturday to see the Dance Shoe 2016 (點子鞋) production, having missed the show when it was in Taipei the previous weekend.

Chang hit upon a winning formula 13 years ago and it is one that she will hopefully continue: Take a handful of southern-grown or based choreographers and let them decide what they want to create and on whom. The productions give the choreographers a chance to have their work shown, KCB’s dancers gain more performing time and audiences around the nation have a chance to see a variety of works.

Chang Ya-ting’s Murmurs (喃喃) opens the show with the four dancers given a chance to show their strengths in a combination of duets and solos.

Wang Wei-ming’s (王維銘) The Stories They Told (她們在說故事) is composed of short solos for five women, each different in style, costuming and intensity, to a score that ranged from a clip from the sountrack to Wim Wenders’ Pina to a Pucchini violin piece.

Lai Hung-chung’s (賴翃中) Grim Winter (凜凜) featured a very strong Cheng I-han (鄭伊涵), whose steely resolve sometimes appeared to overpowered her partner, Huang Yu-hsuan (黃于軒), in a piece that incorporated contemporary popping and isolationist techniques with more traditional ballet movements.

Wang Kuo-chuan’s (王國權) Fragments of Madrid (馬德里的片段), danced by Wang and KCB veteran Ally Yeh (葉麗娟) simply sizzled. At the start, Wang is miffed at Yeh — a girlfriend or perhaps a former lover — for being tardy, but a quick tango-ish embrace and they took off on a romantic and very sexy romp. A very grown-up piece performed by two very experienced dancers, it was terrific fun.

The final work on the program, Dai Ting-ru’s (戴鼎如) very elegant Waiting (從你的全世界路過), danced by Dai, Li Po-wei (李博偉) and Hsia Chia-hui (夏嘉徽), spoke eloquently of love, loss and longing.

There will be two final performances of Dance Show 2016 on Saturday at the Tainan Municipal Cultural Center.

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