Dance Forum Taipei (DFT, 舞蹈空間) is marking its 30th anniversary this year, and it certainly has a lot to celebrate — so much so that the party is going to continue until November of next year.
Since its inception, the contemporary troupe founded by Ping Heng (平珩) has staged 72 productions, worked with 56 choreographers from Taiwan and abroad and toured North America, Europe and Asia.
One of Ping’s goals has been to train a professional cadre of dancers capable of working with a wide variety of choreographers and in different techniques, and to have the company serve as an open platform for artists, with productions that range from the purely abstract to full-length dance theater pieces.
Photo courtesy of National Taichung Theater
Over the past 11 years, the company has created several coproductions with foreign companies such as the Nederlands Dans Theater and Skanes Dansteater of Sweden, as well as theaters and production companies like Korzo Theater in The Hague and Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona. Some of the productions have premiered in Taiwan as part of the National Theater Concert Hall’s Taiwan International Festival of Art (TIFA) and then toured abroad, and some have started overseas and then returned home.
So for the troupe’s anniversary, Peng decided to present four productions featuring works by DFT’s own choreographers and dancers as well as three international choreographers that have created some of the company’s most groundbreaking works.
The party began in May with Jiang, a series of three programs featuring a total of eight works by in-house choreographers and former members, at its home base in Taipei.
Photo courtesy of National Taichung Theater
This weekend it is the turn of Japanese choreographer Toru Shimazaki, who has brought some of his own dancers to perform with DFT members at the National Taichung Theater as part of its “Fall for Great Souls” program, followed by two shows at Taipei’s Metropolitan Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
The show, titled Dance Force features three works, 2014’s Zero Body (零極限), South (南之頌) and In the blink of an eye (瞬舞力).
The first explores the femininity, beauty and strength of women dancers. The company performed it in April 2016 as part of its Moving with Shimazaki mixed bill, and it was a 30 minute tour de force for the eight dancers requiring drill-team like precision. For this year’s shows, Shimazaki has expanded the cast to 10 women.
South celebrates Taiwan’s indigenous cultures, featuring music by Sanpuy Katatepan Mavaliyw and other Aboriginal artists, as well as elements of Aboriginal rituals and dances that inspired Shimazaki during a 2015 visit to Taiwan.
In the blink of an eye, set on 13 dancers, explores the inner and external relationships in modern life.
Shimazaki’s choreography is always closely integrated with the music he has chosen, but it is not just the tempo and rhythm, but the emotion of the music he is after.
His first piece for DFT was Run in 2007, part of a double bill with Lin Wen-chung’s (林文中) Evil Boy Trilogy at Taipei’s Novel Hall. Two years later he was back to help celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary with Grace in October 2009, a lovely series of duets for eight dancers. Moving with Shimazaki was another strong mixed program that really showed the DFT’s dancers, although I did not like second work, The Game, performed by three men.
However, Shimazaki has more hits than misses, and Dance Force looks to be a winner.
DFT’s birthday party will pick up again in April with Moon River 2.0 in April as part of next year’s TIFA, a production with the all-male dance company The Condors from Tokyo, whose Moon River coproduction with DFT in June 2010 at the National Theater was a hysterical romp.
DFT’s final birthday present is a yet-to-be-titled work by Netherlands-based Spanish choreographer Marina Mascerell, a resident artist at Korzo who has worked with the company four times before, each one a riveting production: 2010’s Like an Olive Tree, 2013’s The Unreality of Time (時境) and 2015’s It is like a large animal deep in sleep (沉睡的巨獸) and Three Times Rebel in 2017.
Temporarily entitled Media, it will premiere at the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts (Weiwuying) on Oct. 31 next year.
WHAT: Dance Force
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: The Playhouse at National Taichung Theater (台中國家歌劇院) 101, Huilai Rd Sec 2, Taichung City (台中市惠來路二段101號)
ADMISSION: NT$700 to NT$1,200; available at NTT box offices, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and convenience store ticket kiosks
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES: Wednesday and Thursday next week at 7:30pm at Metropolitan Hall (城市舞台), 25 Bade Rd, Sec 3, Taipei (台北市八德路三段25號). Tickets are NT$500 to NT$1,500, available at NTCH box offices, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and convenience store ticket kiosks
African-American entertainer Dooley appeared on local television show Super Entourage (小明星大跟班) a few weeks ago and was told by the crew that they wanted to do a skit in blackface. Dooley, whose real name is Matthew Candler, tells the Taipei Times that Super Entourage wanted to perform a rendition of the wildly popular “Ghana Coffin Dance,” a meme that has taken the world by storm. Instead, he showed them videos about the racist origins of blackface and slavery in America, and they agreed to drop the makeup. “[I told them] about the history [behind blackface] and [said] you decide
With listicles of local attractions including Costco and numerous children’s playgrounds, I was not expecting much. Opened on Jan. 31, the Taipei MRT’s Circular Line, or Yellow Line, made life in the nation’s capital even more convenient. But judging from Internet search results, it hasn’t opened up many new tourism opportunities, unsurprising as the route mostly crosses densely populated areas and industrial parks. Places like a sports stadium with rainbow colored bleachers perfect for Instagram selfies wouldn’t do it for me either, and it’s pointless to list attractions at the connecting stops that have existed for years. As a history nerd, there
The morning after the ride, my hands ached in a way I’d never before experienced, and my palms looked slightly bruised. Flexing my fingers as I waited for my coffee to cool down, I knew exactly which part of the previous day’s excursion had done this to me. As the go-to-work rush hour ebbed, I’d set off inland on my 125cc scooter. I took Provincial Highway 20 as far as Tainan City’s Yujing District (玉井). From there, I took Provincial Highway 3 into Nansi District (楠西). The route I’d planned would take me past the eastern side of Zengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫)
The recent death of Hana Kimura, a bubbly, pink-haired 22-year-old wrestler and reality TV show star, has spotlighted a rise in cyberbullying in Japan and prompted swift official pledges to do more to protect victims. Kimura, a cast member on the popular program Terrace House, was found dead at her home on May 23 from an apparent suicide after being deluged with negative comments on her social media feeds. Acutely aware of the public debate spurred by her death, Japan’s ruling party is holding hearings from this week to consider legal changes that will help cyberbullying victims seek justice. “People must understand where