Taipei Dance Circle (光環舞集舞蹈團) returned to the Experimental Theater in Taipei last night with founder Liou Shaw-lu’s (劉紹爐) latest creation, Chasing the Wind Turning (逐風轉).
Liou and his wife, Yang Wan-jung (楊宛蓉) founded the company 29 years ago as a “traditional” modern dance company. However, since 1994 and Liou’s Olympics (奧林匹克), the troupe has become renowned for its well-oiled works. Baby-oiled that is. The oil allows for frictionless movement, making the dancers look like they are gliding on top of a river.
That is especially relevant to the new production, which, as with several of Liou’s recent works, was inspired by a body of water.
“I am emotionally moved by the long and flowing river. It makes me feel the wonder of the universe, pulling me into a deep and intimate world of love,” he said.
The piece reflects the growing spirituality of his works and an emphasis on connecting with the environment around us.
He is also interested in the theme of overcoming physical or mental hurdles. This focus on mastering challenges has been especially apparent after Liou himself faced the challenge of recovering from brain surgery in early 2010.
His dancers frequently have to struggle to achieve their goal; the oiled sheet they dance on is great for sliding and spinning, not so great for simple walking or balancing movements. His work may be frictionless, but it is not effortless.
For Chasing the Turning Wind, Liou was inspired by the work of the Six Dynasties-era “hermit” poet Tao Yuan-ming (陶淵明).
His program notes cite one poem in particular: “Life has neither root nor stalk. Like dust in the air, life takes off, chasing the wind in changing directions. It touches ground to undergo bonding and brotherhood for reasons other than blood link.”
The new production, set on four dancers — Liou and three women — is divided into nine segments, beginning with Prelude With the Nautilus.
The piece is set to an eclectic selection of music by Sydney-based composer Colin Offord, Ho Xun-tian (何訓田) and Hsu Sung-ren (徐頌仁).
After this weekend, the company will perform Chasing the Turning Wind one more time, in Chiayi on Nov. 16.