Sat, Aug 16, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Cloud Gate celebrates 30 years of dance

EXQUISITE The internationally acclaimed dance troupe has been honored with a street name in Taipei and the declaration that Aug. 21 will be ``Cloud Gate Day``

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Cloud Gate Dance Theater troupe perform their latest piece, Cursive II, yesterday. The sign announces that August 21, the opening of the troupe's 30th anniversary season, will be ``Cloud Gate Day.``

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

To recognize the achievement of Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theater (雲門舞集), Taipei City's Cultural Affairs Bureau yesterday dubbed Aug. 21 -- the opening of Could Gate's 30th anniversary season -- as "Cloud Gate Day." At the same time, the city also named the location of the dance troupe's office "Cloud Gate Lane," as a tribute to the company's contributions to the cultural life of Taipei.

A red signpost with "Cloud Gate Lane" printed on it was placed at the entrance of Lane 231, Fuhsing North Road, by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Cultural Affairs Bureau Director Liao Hsien-hao (廖咸浩) and the founder and artistic director of Cloud Gate, Lin Hwai-min (林懷民).

"The roads with names having political symbolism have always prevailed in Taiwan -- such as Chungshan North Road or Chungcheng Road," Liao said.

"The Taipei City Government has tried to integrate fine arts into business areas and advocate them in mainstream culture," Liao said.

Liao said that designating the road "Cloud Gate Lane" was an act that marked the first time Taiwan has officially acknowlegded an artistic group's accomplishments.

"Mayor Ma said that a city is made great because of its artists, and I would say Taipei's culture is great thanks to Cloud Gate," Liao said.

"We hope to leave art imprinted on the city's map forever," Liao added.

Lin said that it is common in Europe and North America to name streets after artists or artistic groups.

"I think it is an evocative and inspiring way to draw the public into approaching art more closely," Lin said. "It inspires people's imaginations and also shows the respect of a community that is dedicated to art and culture."

Extolled as "Asia's leading contemporary dance theater" by The Times of London and the "best of the best" by the Sydney Morning Herald, Cloud Gate achieved its reputation by gathering experienced dancers proficient in various disciplines including Tai Chi, meditation, Chinese Opera movements, modern dance and ballet.

Since its founding in 1973, Cloud Gate has earned accolades both nationally and internationally.

It has performed at locales ranging from the prestigious National Theater in Taipei to small high school auditoriums in remote villages.

Free outdoor performances have drawn audiences of as many as 60,000 people.

Cloud Gate's overseas tours in cities throughout the world have thrilled local audiences and won commendations from art critics.

"Cloud Gate has developed outstanding dancers from several generations for the people of Taiwan," Ma said. "And the revival of Legacy represents Cloud Gate's everlasting energy."

Cloud Gate will perform Legacy, Lin's signature work, an epic dance piece depicting the saga of Taiwan's pioneers at the National Theater from Aug. 21 through Aug. 26.

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