Thu, Jun 22, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Rain fails to dampen enthusiasm for dance

In a round-up of recent performances, three female choreographers delivered solid shows, one failed to communicate clearly and the Bulareyaung Dance Company did not let the downpours keep them from putting on its song and dance production

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Six Bulareyaung Dance Company dancers and Aboriginal singers Senayan, Ivi and Muagai rehearse for Bulareyaung Pagarlava’s Stay that way at the Cloud Gate Theater in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District in an undated photograph.

Photo: Courtesy of Lee Lin / Bulareyaung Dance Company

Chang Ting-ting’s (張婷婷) decision to team up with Scarecrow Contemporary Dance Company’s (稻草人現代舞蹈團) artistic director Luo Wen-jinn (羅文瑾) for a show featuring excerpts from previous works paid off last weekend at Taipei’s Experimental Theater.

Saturday night’s packed house — and equal enthusiasm for the other shows — should be proof that dance fans will pay to see pieces from smaller companies’ repertoires as well as those by bigger troupes such as Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集).

The “1 plus 1” show staged by T.T.C. Dance (張婷婷獨立製作) began with an excerpt from Chang’s 2012 Body Platform: Cabinet Anthropomorphique (肢‧色:系列-抽屜人), which was nominated for the 2012 Taishin Arts Award.

The piece, inspired by Salvador Dali’s use of drawers as a symbol of secrecy, was performed by three women and one man: company veterans Wu Ping-cheng (吳秉錚), Aki Saito and Huang Man-jyun (黃曼鈞) and relative newcomer Chang Chi-wu (張琪武).

It might have been just 32 minutes long, but that was enough time for several solos, pairings and group work and a couple of costume changes as the quartet danced with, in and around several white cabinet drawers. Even without the live music and visual effects used in the original show, the excerpt was engaging to watch.

‘DRIPPING’

Luo’s 2015 work, Dripping (詭‧跡), began with a clang — several of them, as she tossed steel pails from one corner of the floor to the front.

I had forgotten some elements of Dripping — such as Luo and colleague Li Pei-shan (李佩珊) being accompanied by a trio of musicians — and remembered some bits that were not included in the excerpt, such as the interplay with a ladder.

However, I had not forgotten what a fun piece it is. Luo and Li have a flair for physical comedy and watching Luo load her tiny body up with close to three dozen pails and then try to shuffle forward, or Li rushing around trying to place pails under water dripping from the ceiling, was laugh-inducing.

My only complaint with the show was that the audience had to leave their seats for the 20-minute intermission so that the set changes for Luo’s work could be conducted out of eyesight. The same forced eviction took place during the “Taiwan Dance Scene-Mixed Program” production at the theater a few weeks back.

Having 150-plus people move up one aisle just to go down a narrow metal staircase and crowd into a limited lobby area and then repeat the process in reverse took up at least half of the interval time, but seemed completely pointless. It is not as if there was some secret set design that had to be erected; on Saturday the stagehands basically reset some lights, added a curtained area for a jazz trio and set up the musicians’ instruments.

People who don’t want to see such behind-the-scenes work or those seeking a bathroom break will certainly welcome the chance to escape the theater, but there is no reason everyone has to move.

‘STAY THAT WAY’

Luo’s piece brought dripping water inside the Experimental, but the Bulareyaung Dance Company (BDC, 布拉瑞揚舞團) had to move its latest production, Stay that way (無,或就以沈醉為名), inside the Cloud Gate Theater in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) because of the unrelenting rain on Saturday afternoon.

The idea behind Bulareyaung (Bula) Pagarlava’s production was to replicate a “typical” east coast Aboriginal get-together of friends, with some drinking, great singing, dancing and a lot of laughter, set against the sun setting over the Tamsui River. In addition to the show, those who bought the higher priced tickets got post-show bottles of beer and skewers of barbecued meat, while vendors outside the theater had Aboriginal arts and crafts for sale.

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