Works by three of Taiwan’s younger generation of notable choreographers will be performed this weekend, two that wrap up the Taipei Arts Festival and one under the auspices of the Kuandu Arts Festival.
All three Taiwanese have developed substantial international contacts, two by touring their works and/or winning choreographic competitions abroad, and one who has been based in Essen, Germany for 14 years.
‘UNDER THE HORIZON’
Photo courtesy of Huang Yi Studio
Going strictly in chronological order, first up is Huang Yi Studio’s (黃翊工作室) Under The Horizon (地平面以下), which opens tonight at the Metropolitan Hall, and is considered one of the highlights of the Taipei Arts Festival.
Described as a “hybrid opera,” the show created by Huang Yi (地平), the Utrecht-based Nederlands Kamerkoor (Netherlands Chamber Choir) and Berlin-based Japanese multimedia and audiovisual artist Ryoichi Kurokawa, premiered on Sept. 21 in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Huang Yi gave a preview of the piece almost a year ago this month at the Cloud Gate Theatre and it was tantalizing.
Photo courtesy of Anna Westphal
Considered one of his generation’s most exciting talents, he has built a reputation for working with technology and Under The Horizon is likely to cement that reputation further.
Inspired by both the plight of refugees fleeing war, persecution or famine, as well as Chinese folklore that says the horizon is the dividing line between life and the netherworld (where souls exist as shadows), Huang Yi and Kurokawa have created a world where humans and shadows cross paths.
It is a show about the universal desire for hope, home, love and belonging. It is also about loss and longing.
Photo courtesy of Chou Mo
The www.artsticket.com.tw site has split the program into two listings: one is for tonight and tomorrow’s shows, which feature the choir; the second is for the three other shows, which will be performed to a recorded soundtrack.
For all five performances, there is an advisory that latecomers will not be admitted.
The search for home is also one of the themes of the second production, the 70-minute dance-video installation by Polymer DMT (聚合舞), Unsolved (未解，懸), which opens tomorrow night at Huashan 1914 Creative Park’s Umay Theater.
Choreographer Luo Fang-yun (羅芳芸) founded the Essen-based Polymer DMT seven years ago, seeking to bring together artists and performers from different fields or cultural backgrounds to create dance-based works.
Unsolved was a collaboration with Hamburg-based video artist Hanna Linn Ernst, Swiss musician Patrik Zosso and Germany-based Taiwanese stage designer Cheng Ting-chen (陳成婷), and features Taiwanese hip-hop dancer Chung Chih-wen (鍾志文), along with Cheng and Anna Westphal.
Coproduced with PACT Zollverein Essen and the Taipei Arts Festival, the show premiered in Essen on Sept. 28, and its Taiwan premiere has been funded by the Goethe-Institut, Taipei.
Unsolved is partially autobiographical, inspired by Luo’s questions about her family’s history in Taiwan and conflicting identities in different worlds, set in an old family home, long abandoned.
Luo examines how personal identity and cultural identity are formed within families and the impact on both the individuals and the family as a whole. Unsolved is the first in a planned trilogy on the concepts of identity, home, heritage and tradition from an individual as well as political experience.
‘BLAH, BLAH, BLAH’
The third production this weekend is B.DANCE’s (丞舞製作團隊) Blah Blah Blah, a collaboration by choreographer Benson Tsai (蔡博丞) and Luxembourg-based artist Jill Crovisier, at Taipei National University of the Arts’ Dance Theater.
Blah Blah Blah’s two pieces explore cultural, social, political and gender differences and perspectives of modern society through the eyes of millennials, the conflict between glamor and desolation.
Tsai has been winning awards and accolades across Europe for the past four years, starting with his 10-minute Floating Flowers, a tribute to his late father, which won the Gauthier Dance and Stuttgart Theater Production Award at the 2014 Hannover International Competition for Choreographers, as well as the Audience Prize for Best Choreography at the 20th MASDANZA in Spain. It also spurred him to create his own company that same year.
His 2015 Hugin/Munin took first prize in choreography competitions in New York and Denmark and placed second at the Jerusalem International Dance Week, while the German dance magazine Tanz last year named him as one of the world’s 32 most promising choreographers.
This piece has been updated since it was first published to correct the date and location of the premiere of "Under The Horizon" from Oct. 3 in The Hague to Sept. 21 in Utrecht, Netherlands.
What: Under The Horizon
When: Tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
Where: Metropolitan Hall (城市舞台), 25 Bade Rd, Sec 3, Taipei (台北市八德路三段25號).
Admission: NT$500 to NT$1,500. Available at NTCH box offices, Eslite ticket desks, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and convenience store ticket kiosks
When: Tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
Where: Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914文化創意產業園區), Umay Theater (烏梅劇院), 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號)
Admission: NT$600, available at NTCH box offices, Eslite ticket desks, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and convenience store ticket kiosks
What: Blah Blah Blah
When: Saturday at 7:45pm and Sunday at 2:45pm
Where: Taipei National University of the Arts Dance Theater (國立臺北藝術大學展演藝術中心戲劇廳), 1 Xueyuan Rd, Guandu District, Taipei City (台北市關渡區學園路1號)
Admission: NT$900, NT$1,400 and NT$2,500; available online at www.artsticket.com.tw and convenience store ticket kiosks
The advent of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has spawned a new genre of fantasy and science fiction in which males (invariably white) argue that it is an “opportunity” or that the government should open up and let the virus run its course. After all, Omicron is “mild,” as numerous studies are now showing, and even more so among the previously infected and/or vaccinated population. It’s time, they argue, to accept that COVID-19 will be with us forever and re-open the country. The government must face reality, must “move from denial to acceptance” as one recent poster on LinkedIn put
The first time I traveled to Pingtung County’s Tjuvecekadan (老七佳 “Old Cijia”), I was greeted by a locked gate and a sign written in old, peeling paint forbidding entry to unescorted outsiders. Behind the gate, the road to the village disappeared around a curve. After the long drive out, not being able to even catch a glimpse of the old slate houses, let alone walk among them, was a major disappointment. What lay behind that gate remained a mystery for years, until the right contact finally helped me arrange a visit last year. After visiting the village, the locked gate
Are you in control of your smartphone or is it in control of you? Sometimes it is difficult to tell. One minute you might be using FaceTime to chat with loved ones or talking about your favorite TV show on Twitter. Next, you’re stuck in a TikTok “scroll hole” or tapping your 29th e-mail notification of the day and no longer able to focus on anything else. We often feel like we can’t pull ourselves away from our devices. As various psychologists and Silicon Valley whistleblowers have stated, that is by design. Many people are making efforts to resist and step away
One evening towards the end of 2003, Chloe Sells was entering the J-Bar in Aspen, Colorado, in search of a late night drink, when an older woman approached her. As Sells recalls in her new photobook, Hot Damn!: “She looked me up and down and said, ‘We’re looking for some help for Hunter. Are you a night owl? Would you be interested?’” Hunter, as every local knew, was Hunter S Thompson, the celebrated creator of “gonzo” journalism, and the town’s most infamous resident. The woman was his wife, Anita. “It took me only a moment,” Sells says, “to answer ‘Yes’ to