Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 13 News List

A legend returns

Legend Lin Dance Theatre’s latest production is a physical mediation on the ocean and the cycles of life

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Choreographer Lin Lee-chen’s newest work for her Legend Lin Dance Theatre, The Eternal Tides, opens at the National Theater on Wednesday as part of the Taiwan International Festival of Arts.

Photo Courtesy of Legend Lin Dance Theatre

Time moves differently for Legend Lin Dance Theatre (無垢舞蹈劇場), the company famed for the slow stillness, tranquility and austere otherworldliness of its performances.

Just as minutes appear to go by between the dancers’ calm, deliberative movements, years can go by between new productions, and yet it can seem just like yesterday that fans were eagerly awaiting the premiere of founder and choreographer Lin Lee-chen’s (林麗珍) last work,Song of Pensive Beholding (觀).

That show — the final installment of a trilogy about heaven, earth and man that Lee launched in 1995, the same year she founded her New Taipei City-based troupe — premiered in December 2009 as one of the National Theater Concert Hall flagship productions.

Now, seven years and a few months later, a brand new work, The Eternal Tides (潮), will open on Wednesday as the second production in this year’s Taiwan International Festival of Arts, and the first show in the newly renovated National Theater.

Lee’s works have long been inspired by Taiwan’s Taoist and folk rituals and religious ceremonies as well the island’s environment, and her trilogy — Mirrors of Life (醮), Anthem to the Fading Flowers (花神祭春芽) and Song — shared elements of those sacred rites and mystery.

OCEAN CURRENTS

For The Eternal Tides, the Keelung-born Lee said she was inspired by the ocean that surrounds Taiwan and nourishes the lives of its people, as well as years of watching and helping her horticulturally inclined husband, Chen Nien-chou (陳念舟), who has long served as her company’s producer, tend his plants and flowers.

The ocean tides are a metaphor for the circle of the life, from the water in the clouds that becomes the rain that falls to earth and flows into rivers and then into the sea before evaporating and being absorbed into the atmosphere and beginning the cycle anew, just as seeds grow into a plant, which flowers and produces anew.

Performance Notes

What: Legend Lin Dance Theatre, The Eternal Tides

When: From Wednesday to Saturday, March 11 at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday, March 12, 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: The theater recently released some tickets in the NT$1,600 and NT$3,800 range, everything else is sold out; available at NTCH box offices, online at www.artsticket.com.tw, Eslite ticketing and convenience store ticket kiosks


Lee told a news conference in January that she also thought about how the seas carry seeds to new lands to take root. She said she collected more than 200 varieties of seeds before choosing 20 to use in the show, including those of flower, grains and fruit, which are used as props as well as elements of the set and costumes.

“The tide represents both the ocean currents and people’s inner emotions; while human beings are like seeds that take root as their emotions flow,” she told reporters.

Lee said The Eternal Tides continues the storyline she began in Song about a mysterious race of eagles, led by two brothers, whose pact to protect their people and their land is threatened when a spirit, the White Bird, who is betrothed to the earth, chooses to mate with one of the brothers, Samao, instead.

COLLABORATORS

Lin’s production team for The Eternal Tides includes long-time collaborators such as lighting designer Cheng Kuo-yang (鄭國揚) and singer Hsu Ching-chwen (許景淳), although this time the stage design is by Penny Tsai Pei-ling (蔡珮玲) and costumes by Wang Chia-hui (王佳惠).

The main dancers are Wu Ming-jing (吳明璟) and Cheng Chieh-wen (鄭傑文), who danced the leads as the White Bird and Samao respectively in the 2014 revival of Song at the National Theater.

The Eternal Tides is two hours long, with no intermission — after all, Lin’s choreography cannot be rushed.

The National Theater has warned that latecomers will not be admitted and also cautioned there will be smoke and miscanthus dust used in the production. There will be a post-show discussion after the matinee on Sunday, March 12.

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