Thu, Dec 13, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Dance and theater for winter nights

A production featuring new dance works opens tonight at the TNUA’s campus, while a seven-show run of ‘Twelfth Night’ will begin Dec. 21

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

The Last Night, choreographed by alumni Lin Chun-yu, is one of three works on the Taipei National University of the Arts School of Dance’s winter concert, In the move In the mood, this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Chang Chia-hao

The School of Dance and School of Theater Arts at Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) in Guandu District (關渡) have been busy over the past few weeks preparing for their annual end-of-the-year shows.

The shows are always a great chance to see potential stars of tomorrow, be they dancers, choreographers, actors or design students.

The dancers take to the Dance Theater stage starting tonight for In the move In the mood (風/情), while actors and singers will begin a seven-show run of Twelfth Night at the Experimental Theater on Friday next week.

While the biannual dance concerts usually features five or six works by alumni and faculty, this year’s show has just three: The Last Night (最後一夜), Rewind (彈一段過錯的日子), choreographed by Chang Kuo-wei (張國韋); and Dance in the Jet Strength (無定向風3), by faculty member Zhang Xiao-xiong (張曉雄).

The program has been overseen by two faculty members, artistic director Chiang Chiou-o (蔣秋娥) and lighting designer Goh Boon Ann (吳文安), who served as technical director.

The music and mood of the three pieces vary widely, and each challenges their casts with different techniques.

Lin and Chang have been recognize as up and coming choreographers, and were selected to have works presented in the Newcomers (注目新人) program of the at the CoDance Festival (2018相遇舞蹈節) organized by Sun-Shier Dance Theatre (三十舞蹈劇場) and Huashan 1914 Creative Park in March.

Lin, a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts who also studied at the London Contemporary Dance School, earned her master’s degree from TNUA last year.

Chang, a young choreographer whose primary genre has been hip-hop and street dance, wowed audiences with his Alternate Realm (鏡界) at the school’s winter concert two years ago.

Rewind, judging from the rehearsal videos, looks likely to hit the same high bar, just keep your eyes on the balls the dancers have to handle, a prop that he also used in Negotiate (彈判) in March.

Zhang’s piece, although the English-language title doesn’t say so, is the third part of a series about exploring the unknown, but he said this piece, set to a lovely violin score, is very different from the first two.

After tackling William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, last month for their autumn show, the theater department will stage Japanese director Sho Ryuzanji’s riff on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which he has turned into a musical set in a fictional virtual city based on Kowloon.

Ryuzanji, a theater and film actor/director, first gained fame in Japan as part of the “underground” scene that emerged after World War II.

He became a leader of the small-scale theater movement with the troupes he founded: Engekidan (1970 to 1990), the Ryuzanji Company (founded 1984 under the motto “Dancing, Singing and Loving”), Rakujyuku, which featured productions casting middle-aged non-professionals, and the short-lived Paradise Iahiza, whose actors were all theater professionals — designers, writers, stage technicians — aged 80 and above.

One of his guiding principles is that theater should be for everyone and by everyone, especially those often excluded by mainstream society, such as the poor.

In his productions of Shakespeare’s works, he has often transposed them to Asian settings, and emphasized borderlessness and statelessness.

His Kabuki-influenced production of Twelfth Night for Ryuzanji, featuring a cast of 60-year olds (and up) was performed in May at the Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival, and the Mandarin translation done for that show is being used in the TNUA production.

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