Tue, Jul 15, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Donors give NT$370m to Cloud Gate

NOTE OF GRATITUDEWhile the dance troupe now has plenty of money to build its new home, red tape and antiquated laws are delaying construction

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Local business groups, non-profit foundations and individuals donated more than NT$370 million (US$12 million) to the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre to help rebuild a rehearsal studio after the original was destroyed by a fire earlier this year, the troupe announced over the weekend.

“The generous donations embody our society’s tremendous expectations for Cloud Gate and will encourage it to pursue a dream of continuity and sharing,” said Lin Hwai-min (林懷民), the troupe’s founder and artistic director.

The former writer-turned dancer/choreographer made the remarks after heading a group of Cloud Gate 2 young dancers to make a deep bow before more than 40,000 fans who had turned out to watch a thank-you performance at the National Theater and National Concert Hall plaza in Taipei on Saturday evening.

“This is a gathering where we can share and express our gratitude,” Lin told the audience before the performance. “We want to express out heartfelt thanks.”

Lin said Cloud Gate would make the best use of the donations and would welcome other local performing troupes to share its new studio and facilities.

The 35-year-old dance company’s 1,324m² rehearsal studio, costume, props and production archives were lost in a fire on Feb. 11.

Earlier on Saturday, the troupe held a thanksgiving tea party. Speaking at the occasion, Stan Shih (施振榮), founder of the Acer Group, who now heads Cloud Gate’s fund-raising committee, said board members of the dance company had launched a fund-raising drive in private in late February.

A total of 175 business groups and their affiliated foundations, as well as 3,973 individuals, donated money to help the group rebuild a rehearsal studio, Shih said, adding that the biggest single donation of NT$50 million came from an anonymous business group. Many individual donors also requested anonymity.

“We believe that the donation was the biggest-ever private investment in a non-profit cultural enterprise in Taiwan’s history,” Shih said.

Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), a Nobel laureate who is Cloud Gate’s honorary chairman, said that while the fire had destroyed many of the troupe’s valuable assets, it had also created new opportunities.

The Taipei County Government has offered a disused art and education site in Tamsui (淡水) to house Cloud Gate’s new rehearsal studio.

As a result of government red-tape and the absence of legislation regarding private investment in cultural enterprises, construction at the new site has yet to begin.

Lin urged the government to revise regulations to speed up the construction project.

“Otherwise, inflation could cause cost overruns and hinder the project,” he said.

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