The Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) yesterday announced that it has been given a US$5 million donation by a US foundation to help the dance troupe finish building its new headquarters and studio in New Taipei City (新北市).
The gift from the Chicago-based Alphawood Foundation Chicago is the largest single donation in the company’s history.
In a statement released by the company, Cloud Gate Dance founder and artistic director Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) said: “We are deeply grateful for all support from Taiwan and international society. Cloud Gate shall continue presenting the best performances and cultural services as a token of our gratitude.”
Cloud Gate’s rehearsal studio and warehouse complex in Bali Township (八里) in then-Taipei County was destroyed by a pre-dawn fire on Feb. 11, 2008. The following year, the company signed a contract with New Taipei City Government to build a new complex in Tamsui District (淡水), which it is to operate for 40 years.
The complex — which includes a performing arts center, a 400-seat theater, an outdoor stage area with seating for 2,000 and two large rehearsal studios — is scheduled to be inaugurated next year.
The Alphawood Foundation was established by Fred Eychaner, president and chief executive officer of Newsweb Corp in 1992 as the WPWR-TV Channel 50 Foundation.
The foundation has long supported non-profit organizations in Chicago and northwest Indiana in the fields of arts and arts education, domestic violence prevention, architecture and preservation and the rights of lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS.
In recent years the foundation has widened its outreach.
Eychaner has been a longtime supporter of Cloud Gate.
Alphawood has sponsored several of Cloud Gate visits to Chicago and co-produced Lin’s Wild Cursive (狂) in 2005, and is also sponsoring the troupe’s planned visit to Chicago in March to perform Songs of the Wanderers> (流浪者之歌) as part of a three-nation tour that will take Cloud Gate to London, five US cities and three Canadian ones.
Cloud Gate marked the 40th anniversary of its founding last year.