Fri, Mar 29, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Highlight: Dancing the light fantastic

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

New Orleans-based Lightwire Theater’s production of The Ugly Duckling begins a five-city tour of Taiwan tonight with the first of three shows at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.

Photo courtesy of Lightwire Theater

New Orleans-based Lightwire Theater has brought its unique blend of dance, electroluminescent artistry and puppetry to Taiwan for a five-city tour of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved tale, The Ugly Duckling (醜小鴨大進擊).

While the company, which gained famed through appearances on the US television show America’s Got Talent in 2012 and France’s The Best: Le Meilleur Artiste has toured extensively in China over the past six years, this is its first time in Taiwan.

Lightwire founders Ian Carney and Corbin Popp trained as ballet dancers, and first met when they were cast in Twyla Tharp’s 2002 Broadway production Movin’ Out. Bonding over their shared interest in theater, technology and art, the two men, along with their dancer wives, Eleanor Carney and Whitney Popp, began experimenting with electroluminescent wire to create puppetry-based neon creations.

They founded CORBiAN Visual Arts and Dance in New York, and received a Jim Henson Foundation Grant to create their first full-length production, Darwin the Dinosaur (later retitled Dino-Light), but after Hurricane Katrina, the Carneys decided to move back to their hometown, where they and the Popps founded Lightwire Theater.

The company’s dance-centric shows are created for young children and families, with stories taken from fairy tales and modern stories, set to scores that range from well-known classical music pieces to pop. songs

The company’s wearable sculptures are created out of a wide variety of everyday objects and recyclable materials, including PVC piping, aluminum rods, plumbing supplies, fishing poles and skateboard wheels, plus black fabric and battery-powered electroluminescent wire.

■ Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, 505, Renai Rd, Sec 4, Taipei (台北市11073信義區仁愛路4段505號 國父紀念館). Tonight at 7:30pm, tomorrow at 2:30pm and 7:30pm

■ Additional performances on Wednesday next week at 7:30pm at Taichung Chungshan Hall (台中中山堂), 98 Hsuehshi Rd, Taichung City (台中市學士路98號); Thursday at 7:30pm at the Tainan Cultural Center (臺南文化中心演藝廳), 332, Chunghua East Rd Sec 3, Tainan (臺南市中華東路3段332號); Friday at 2:30pm at the Da-Dong Cultural Center (大東文化藝術中心) 161 Guangyuan Rd, Kaohsiung City (高雄市光遠路161號); and Saturday at 7:30pm at the Hsinchu Municipal Performance Hall (新竹市文化局演藝廳), 16, Dongda Rd Sec 2, Hsinchu City (新竹市東大路二段17號).

■ Tickets are NT$600 to NT$1,500, available online at, at convenience store ticket kiosks and at the door

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