Thu, Dec 07, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Wind-powered dance

WCdance will perform a work inspired by a Japanese film about an aeronautical engineer, while Feng Dance Theater’s name comes from a passage about breezes in ‘The Analects of Confucius’

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Lin Wen-chung’s latest work for his WCdance troupe, The Wind Rises, will be performed at the Metropolitan Hall in Taipei on Saturday and Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Lin Ting Tai

Artistic endeavors are often described as flights of fancy. Two works that will be performed in Taipei this weekend definitely fit that description: Taipei-based WCdance’s (林文中舞團) The Wind Rises (風起) and After Game (遊戲之後) by Feng Dance Theater (風乎舞雩), a small company whose name comes from a passage about breezes in The Analects of Confucius.

Choreographer Lin Wen-chung (林文中) has long been inspired by flight. He drew on his teenage love of model airplanes for his 2015 work, Aerodynamics (空氣動力學), while his latest creation, The Wind Rises, was inspired by Japanese artist and director Hayao Miyazaki’s 2014 anime film of the same name.

The film was a semi-fictional biography of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the Zero fighter and other military aircraft. For the title, Miyazaki drew on a line from Paul Valery’s poem Le Cimetiere Marin (The graveyard by the sea): “The wind is rising! We must try to live.”

“The director [Miyazaki] combined two stories, one about the designer of the planes used in kamikaze attacks and how he fell in love with a girl who was ill and passed away. It is about how people pursue their dreams and costs,” Lin said in a telephone interview on Monday.

“It’s very different from my previous works … friends say it is more emotional. My pieces are usually more cool,” Lin said.

“I don’t what made this change, time or maybe my age,” he joked.

He recruited some of the same team that worked on Aerodynamics, including composer Lin Fang-yi (林芳宜) and multi-media artist Ethan Wang (王奕盛).

However, this time around Wang did not create projections, but designed the set.

“This time he is behind the scenes. He told me to save money, keep it simple, since the projectors needed for his usual projections are very expensive,” Lin said. “The stage is beautiful.”

In an usual move for his company, Lin premiered The Wind Rises on Saturday last week in Hsinchu. However, it was another pragmatic decision, like simplifying the stage: the Hsinchu Performing Arts Center let him use the theater for two weeks of rehearsal, an amount of time that is rare in Taiwan’s performing world.

Costs are a concern because Lin has basically outgrown the Experimental Theater at the National Theater, where his company performed for its first few years. The black-box space has seating for just about 240 people.

This time around the two shows in Taipei will be at the Metropolitan Hall, a mid-sized stage, but with seating for about 1,000, which means Lin has a lot of tickets to sell. The company is doing fairly well on that front; there are just about 300 seats left for each of the two shows.

One company that has not yet outgrown the Experimental Theater is Feng Dance.

The 12-year-old Tainan-based company premiered its newest production, After Game, at the Tainan Municipal Cultural Center on Nov. 25.

It will be at the Experimental Theater for three shows, starting on Saturday afternoon.

Choreographed by the troupe’s artistic director, Dominique Yen (顏鳳曦), After Game is an exploration of life and death as seen through the eyes of children and parents.

Children often ask questions that adults find difficult to answer, such as “Where do we come from?” and “What happens after you die?” They often use games or play to resolve the challenges they encounter.

Yen was interested in exploring how to answer such questions, both as an artist and as a mother; how to think about the meaning of life in a creative way and how to teach children about cherishing life’s little moments.

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