Thu, Oct 03, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Bittersweet farewells and new faces

The NTCH’s biennial Dancing into Fall series features a final work by Lin Hwai-min for his Cloud Gate troupe as well as Akram Khan’s final solo work, but there are a lot of new faces ready to take up baton

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

British dancer/choreographer Akram Khan returns to Taiwan with XENOS, his final show as a solo dancer, with performances at the National Taichung Theater and the National Theater in Taipei.

Photo courtesy of Jean-Louis Fernandez

The National Theater Concert Hall’s (NTCH) biennial fall series, Dancing in Autumn (舞蹈秋天), this year has a bittersweet flavor, as it features farewell works by two great choreographers: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) founder and artistic director Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) and British contemporary choreographer Akram Khan, although in the latter’s case, it is a goodbye to his role as a performer, not a choreographer.

This year’s series, appropriately titled Stop Talking, Start Dancing! (閉幕派對), offers a wide variety of works, both big and small, that are sure to keeping people talking for weeks, if not longer.

In addition, two of the major productions will also be performed in Kaohsiung and Taichung, spreading the wealth from north to south, while for the first time the Cloud Gate Theater in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) will be the venue for another.

So while Cloud Gate’s EXCHANGE, featuring works by Lin, his successor, Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍) and TAO Dance Theater (陶身體劇場) founder Tao Ye (陶冶), is one of the series highlights, it will premiere at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) on Friday next week, before opening at the National Theater on Oct. 17 and then moving to the National Taichung Theater (NTT) on Oct. 26 as part of that theater’s Fall for Great Souls (遇見巨人) series.

Lin’s work, Autumn River (秋水), is set on five senior dancers who are leaving the company, while Cheng’s piece, Multiplication (乘法), is set on TAO’s nine dancers, and Tao’s piece, 12, is set on 12 Cloud Gate dancers.

Khan’s production, XENOS, features his final performances as a dancer in a full-length work; after decades of dancing, his 45-year-old body is reaching the point where he is no longer sure he can perform to his exacting standards.

XENOS, which means “stranger” or “foreigner,” was inspired by the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers who fought for the British Empire in World War I, and suffered through the massive slaughter of the frontline battle fields of that conflict.

Khan’s idea is that “be it to live or to die, war has made us strangers to ourselves.”

XENOS opens at the NTT’s Playhouse on Oct. 26 for two shows before moving to the National Theater for three performances starting Nov. 1.

Dancing in Autumn actually kicks off on Thursday next week with Frederick Gravel’s Some Hope for the Bastards, an ode to the apathy and helpless feelings of impotence of a society that has lost its way, at the National Theater, while a mixed program at the National Experimental Theater opens the following night, featuring solo dances by Taiwanese choreographers Su Pin-wen (蘇品文), Tien Hsiao-tzu (田孝慈) and Cheng Hao (鄭皓), who were challenged to create a dance within the timeframe of a TED video.

Su Wen-chi’s (蘇文琪) Anthropic Shadow (人類黑區) will be in the Experimental Theater from Oct. 18 to 20, followed by Belgian choreographer Jan Martens’ double bill of Rule of Three and Ode to the Attempt from Oct. 24 to 27.

Marten’s works were inspired by the idea of creating dance works based on the state and perception of a person’s mind when they are using their smartphone.

Vessel, created by Belgian choreographer Damien Jalet and Japanese sculptor Kohei Nawa, will be performed at the Cloud Gate Theater from Nov. 15 to 17, while Danish choreographer Mette Ingvartsen’s to come (extended), an updating of her 2005 work about human sexuality and pleasure, will be performed at the Experimental Theater from Nov. 15 to 17.

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