The show must go on (非跳不可), which shares the name of one of Queen’s hits, is one of French choreographer Jerome Bel’s most performed works since it debuted in 2001.
It is part of his effort to show that movement and dance do not have to be restricted to theater stages or professionals, but can and should be done and enjoyed by everyone.
He also wants to challenge his audiences, make them confront their expectations about live performances, about the role of audiences and performers and about givers and receivers.
Photo courtesy of Chen Wu-kang
Bel’s GALA, which also aimed to break down barriers and promote inclusiveness, was one of the hits of last year’s Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節), so it is no surprise that the organizers asked for another one of his pieces for this year’s festivals.
The show must go on was an intriguing choice, as not only is it more minimalistic than GALA, which took its audiences on a roller-coaster ride of emotions that evoked cheers and tears, it has often provoked controversy, even jeering from audiences who want only to be entertained, not challenged.
In addition, instead of having someone from his company come to Taipei to serve as rehearsal director, since his troupe no longer travels by air for environmental reasons, Bel invited the husband-and-wife team of Taiwanese dancer/choreographers, Chen Wu-kang (陳武康) and Yeh Ming-hua (葉名樺), to serve as directors of the Taipei production.
It is the first time he turned over authorship to another choreographer, so Bel is now credited on the program for “the concept.” However, the format of the show remains the same: 20 performers, 19 songs and one deejay.
The score could be described as a soundtrack for the lives of many people, with pop hits from the 1960s to 1990s, everything from the Beatles to what else — David Bowie’s Let’s Dance — as well as Leonard Bernstein and Edith Piaf.
For the cast, Chen and Yeh picked some friends and some amateurs, ranging from dancer/choreographers Lin Wen-chung (林文中), Liu Kuan-hsiang (劉冠詳) and Mauro Sacchi, to actors Lin Yu-li (林羽黎) and Ye Yu-te (葉育德), to an engineer, a physical therapist, a dentist and self-described lovers of the performing arts.
“It is not me who produces the choreography; it is the mass culture, the cultural industry,” Bel has said of The show must go on.
■ Tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm
■ Zhongshan Hall (台北市中山堂), 98 Yanping S Rd, Taipei City (台北市延平南路98號)
■ Tickets are NT$750 and 900; available at the NTCH and Eslite ticket booths, online at www.artsticket.com and at convenience store ticket kiosks
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