This year’s Kuandu Arts Festival (關渡藝術節), which opened on Sept. 23 and runs through Nov. 29, is focused on music.
Under the theme “Joy of Music,” a nod to the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, the program features performances by seven symphony orchestras as well as several Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學) student and faculty shows, in addition to the annual film and animation festivals.
However, there is still room for other performing arts, and two productions this weekend and next at the university in the hills of Taipei’s Guandu area (關渡) feature students from the School of Dance.
Photo courtesy of Chang Chia-hou
The dance department is celebrating its 38th anniversary, so it is fitting that this weekend’s show, Four Chapters Of The Floating Life (浮生四闕), feature works ranging from ballet to contemporary to post-modern, choreographed by two faculty members, a guest professor and an alumnus.
The show’s artistic director, Chiang Chiou-o (蔣秋娥), choreographed 2020 Spring, a classical ballet-based work set to Max Richier’s take on the “Spring” section from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
Alumnus and Batsheva dancer turned freelance dancer/choreographer Lee Chen-wei (李貞葳) has contributed Unfold Unpaid (非常非償), an exploration of the conflicts and disasters confronting modern society, set to music by Teho Teardo, Death Grips, Ben Frost and others.
Photo courtesy of the Kuandu Arts Festival
Australian Leigh Warren’s GREEN T, created for graduate students, is a three-part work inspired by the ideals of the postmodern movement and the pop culture of the time, set to music by John Cage and Steve Reich.
The final work on the program is The Floating Life (浮生) by Zhang Xiaoxiong (張曉雄), a restaging of a work he created for the 2006 Hong Kong Dance Academy Dance Festival, To Friends in Heaven.
Zhang adapted the piece for Taipei Crossover Dance Company (台北越界舞團) in 2008 and then restaged it this year for the students.
Photo courtesy of Formosa Circus Art
Set to Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, it is a powerful work focusing on the relationship between work and history, dance and music.
Back in 2008, he said it was about “people who could not choose the time and environment in which they lived, but who had the courage to face what they had to and the pride to do so.”
Then-TNUA student Wu Chien-wei (吳建緯) gave a mesmerizing performance in the 2008 production, and I am looking forward to seeing what the current crop of students do with it this time.
Photo courtesy of Wu Jun-yen
Zhang also choreographed another work for the festival, Through Mist And Rain (一蓑煙雨), which will be performed next weekend by TNUA students.
It is the latest installment of a collaboration between the university’s School of Music and School of Dance that began in 2018.
The first version of Through Mist And Rain debuted last year as a 30-minute work, but Zhang and his collaborators conducted additional research and field work to expand it to 60 minutes.
There are two shows, Saturday next week at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm in the Dance Theater and tickets are NT$600.
Meanwhile, dance is also key to a performance at the Cloud Gate Theater this week, with help from another TNUA alumnus.
The Formosa Circus Art (FOCA, 福爾摩沙馬戲團) troupe will perform the final installment of its crossover trilogy, Moss (苔痕).
Moss is a collaboration with the Germany-based Peculiar Man, founded by Tien Tsai-wei (田采薇), a dancer with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, and Jan Mollmer, and combines circus stunts and acrobatics with dance theater.
The idea was to focus on exploring the meaning behind the performance, and the production was inspired by a photograph of an abandoned building covered with vines, which conjured up the idea of a house of forgotten dreams and memories.
FOCA says the show explores loss, absence, presence and loneliness.
WHAT: Four Chapters Of The Floating Life
WHEN: Tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
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, Beitou District, Taipei City (台北市北投區學園路1號)
ADMISSION: NT$400; available at NTCH and Eslite ticket desks, online at www.artsticket.com.tw, at convenience store ticketing kiosks. Saturday evening and Sunday shows are sold out.
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday at 3pm
WHERE: Cloud Gate Theater (淡水雲門劇場), 36, Ln 6, Zhongzheng Rd Sec 1, Tamsui District, New Taipei City (新北市淡水區中正路一段6巷36號)
ADMISSION: NT$400 to NT$1,000; available at NTCH box offices and bookstore ticketing outlets, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and at convenience store kiosks nationwide. Only a few seats are left for both shows.
On the day I rode a 125cc two-wheeler to 2,312m above sea level, the northwestern corner of Taitung County wasn’t merely beautiful. It was “renounce all worldly possessions and walk out on your family, if that means you can stay” sublime. At first light in Chihshang (池上), I rode through jacket-dampening fog. Outside the town, I escaped the morning mists, and zipped inland on an empty road. In the space of just under 6km, Provincial Highway 20A (20甲) exits Chihshang, passes farms, crosses the Sinwulu River (新武呂溪), and merges into Provincial Highway 20. The latter road is also known as the South
I sat down this week for a chat with Taiwan Internet stalwart T. H. Schee (徐子涵, @scheeinfo on Twitter). Schee’s career for the last two decades has been focused on Internet and public policy in Taiwan. At 24, in 2002, Schee became project manager at Yam.com for blogs. Since then he has been involved in the digital transformation of Taiwan, consulting for and participating on government, academic and private organizations and panels. He has built up a reputation for his work on the intersection of Internet and public policy. Schee was invited to a UN expert council in 2011 based
Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 The Hunan Braves (湖南勇) are famous for their ferocity in combat. It’s said that while defending Taiwan against the French during the 1884 Battle of Tamsui, they would rush back to the battlefield immediately after having their wounds treated. The combined forces of Qing Dynasty troops, irregular warriors like the Braves as well as local resistance fighters eventually fended off the French in a shocking victory. The Hunan Braves, who belonged to the Zhuosheng Battalion (擢勝營) under Qing Dynasty general Sun Kai-hua (孫開華), himself a native of Hunan, were no strangers to Taiwan. They first arrived in
“Think of your bike as your child,” says Tsai Shih-chiang (蔡士強), “because you have to pay a half fare to take it with you on the train.” Tsai doesn’t have any children; no human ones at least. He has four bicycles. His current favorite is his trail bike because, after giving up triathlons, his favorite cycling is off-road. And since Taipei, where Tsai lives, is not great for trail riding, his weekends usually start and finish with a train journey to Yilan and back. Or Hsinchu. Or Taichung or further afield. TRAINS ... And, as Tsai says, the Taiwan Railways Administration