First lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) will accompany the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre on a trip to Moscow this week, the Presidential Office said yesterday.
This will be the second time that Chow has served as honorary director of Cloud Gate during an overseas engagement, after joining the troupe for their performances in Washington and Vancouver earlier this year.
Cloud Gate will perform Whisper of Flowers, which premiered in Chiayi in 2008, at the 2010 Chekhov International Theatre Festival from Thursday to Sunday.
Cloud Gate founder and choreographer Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) was inspired to create Whispers by Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov’s play The Cherry Orchard, as well as by the carpet of fallen red camellia petals that he saw in a park in Sintra, Portugal.
This will be the company’s fourth appearance at the annual Chekhov festival in Moscow.
Chow, who is scheduled to depart for Moscow tomorrow, will be the first first lady from Taiwan ever to visit Russia, although former first lady Faina Chiang Fang-liang (蔣方良), the wife of Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), was Russian.
Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) yesterday played down the significance of Chow’s trip, describing it a “purely artistic and cultural visit.”
Local Chinese-language media, however, reported that Chow will be given special courtesies in passing through immigration in Moscow, and Taiwan’s representative office there will arrange dinner parties for the first lady to reach out to Russian politicians and other celebrities.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated Moscow’s support for Beijing’s “one China” position during a visit to Moscow by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) in March.
Most of the Cloud Gate troupe left for Moscow yesterday. After the company’s appearance in Moscow, the troupe will head to Italy, where they will perform Song of the Wanderers on June 22 and June 23 at the International Festival of Villa Adriana and June 27 at the Ravenna Festival in Ravenna, Italy. Next they will travel to Barcelona, Spain, to perform Wild Cursive at Festival Grec.
Chow is scheduled to wrap up her Moscow trip and return to Taipei on June 13.
One Cloud Gate executive said Chow touched the hearts of the troupe’s dancers and stage staff with her warmth and kindness during the Washington and Vancouver trips.
“Chow stayed at the same hotel where all troupe members stayed and attended each of the troupe’s performances,” the executive said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP
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