Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Water and dust a Cloud Gate recipe for fun

The modern dance troupe’s annual free outdoor performance tomorrow night in Taipei features two one-act works that premiered in 2014, ‘White Water’ and ‘Dust’

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will perform White Water by artistic director Lin Hwai-min as part of a double bill at its annual free outdoor performance at Liberty Plaza, between the National Theater and Concert Hall, in Taipei tomorrow night.

Photo courtesy of Liu Chen-hsiang

The heat and humidity of Taiwan in July leaves many people feeling too listless to want to move much, even if they are inside chilling with air-conditioning.

However, for more than 20 years, July has also meant the chance to watch some of the nation’s best dancers move — for free — with Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s (雲門舞集) annual outdoor performances, thanks to the support of Cathay Financial Holding Co.

This year the company scheduled just two outdoor shows — one in Taitung on Saturday last week and one in Taipei tomorrow, to feature the double bill of artistic director Lin Hwai-min’s (林懷民) White Water (白水) and Dust (微塵).

The company recently added the program, which premiered at the National Theater in November 2014, to its touring repertoire, performing it during a three-city tour of Russia in May, where they earned standing ovations at each show.

However, the audience at the Taitung County Stadium last weekend saw a more personalized performance in a bid to boost their spirits in the wake of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Nepartak: White Water and excerpts from 2013’s Rice (稻禾), which features beautiful video projections of the rice paddies of the East Rift Valley.

The monochromatic White Water, set to a score made up largely by piano compositions by Erik Satie, Albert Roussel, Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Maurice Ohana and Jacques Ibert, is one of Lin’s quietest — but loveliest — works.

Its 14 movements serve to focus attention on the company’s younger members, while the watery projections by Chang Hao-jen (張皓然) and Ethan Wang (王奕盛), which later merge with a luminiscent green grid, provide a gentle background that never overpowers the action on the floor.

Performance notes

What: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre outdoor performance

When: Saturday at 7:30pm

Where: Liberty Plaza, 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號)

Admission: Free

The 25-minute-long Dust, set to Dimitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, is a much more disturbing work, full of suffering in a hellish world. It is beautiful, but in a very dark, Russian way, which means it fits the score perfectly.

The Taipei shows in Liberty Plaza draw several thousand people of all ages, who pack the tiles between the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH) to enjoy a show under the stars.

The show officially begins at 7:30pm, with about 15 minutes set aside for speeches from a Cathay Life Insurance executive, NTCH artistic director Lee Huey-mei (李惠美) and Lin.

However, people usually start showing up to save themselves a good spot two to three hours beforehand and by 7:30pm the plaza will be packed. It is worth remembering to bring something to sit on, something to drink and a fan.

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