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[HK] Dance- 'Cursive' trilogy debuts (Feb 9 - Mar 12)
Latest Updated by 2006-02-16 09:33:24

TAIWAN'S critically acclaimed contemporary dance troupe, Cloud Gate Dance Theater, is performing its international premiere of its "Cursive" trilogy at the 2006 Hong Kong Arts Festival, which opened Feb. 9 and runs through March 12.

This is the first time all three dances have been performed together.

The dance epic, by the troupe's founder and dance guru Lin Hwai-min, comprises three works based on the calligraphic theme. Inspired by classical Chinese calligraphy, Lin evokes the sublime energy and aesthetics of the masters through the eloquent medium of dancers writing in space.

"Calligraphy is not only about brush and ink. Rather, it is a trail of energy on rice paper left behind by its creator. When it is combined with dancing, magic is not too strong a word for description," said Lin in a recent interview in Nanfang Weekend.

To better understand Chinese calligraphy, all Cloud Gate dancers have been practicing calligraphy, to vividly express the essence.

The first piece of the trilogy, "Cursive," was first staged in 2001. It shows some dancers absorbing the calligrapher's energy and intimating the linear route of ink. The dance is full of lyrical flows and strong punctuations, with rich variations in energy. The exercise produced unimaginable movements, with subtle slow motions and dynamic martial-arts-like attacks.

The second piece, "Cursive II," staged in 2003, is dramatically different from its forerunner. While "Cursive" emphasizes the darker blacks with vigorous attacks, "Cursive II" explores the lighter shades in a meditative mood, evoking the serene quality of porcelain from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Cursive II won the Age Critics' Award and Patrons' Award for the Best Production at the Melbourne International Festival in 2003.

The last chapter of the journey, "Cursive III," premiered in 2005. It draws choreographic ideas from "wild calligraphy," which is considered the pinnacle in Chinese cursive aesthetics. The dance frees characters from any set form and exposes the spiritual state of the writer in its expressive abstraction. The Cloud Gate dancers' exquisitely liquid movements echo the serpentine and meandering lines of the black ink as it flows down cascading streams of rice paper onto the stage.

The dances have received rave reviews in Taiwan and abroad.

"The works are better recognized by foreigners than Chinese. The reason is that Chinese audiences always try to identify each character in the dances, while neglecting the way the character is expressed by dancers. Foreigners find much aesthetic significance in dancing," said Lin.

Cloud Gate Dance Theater is expected to participate in the Second China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industry Fair, to be held from May 18 to 21. Hopefully, local dance lovers will have the opportunity to see some scenes from the "Cursive" trilogy. (Tang Li)

Lin Hwai-min

Founder and artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan, Lin Hwai-min was born in 1947 in Taiwan. He studied Chinese opera movement in Taiwan, modern dance in New York, and classical court dance in Japan and South Korea.

An internationally renowned choreographer, Lin often draws from traditional Asian culture for inspiration and material to create works with innovative forms and contemporary relevance, which have prompted international acclaim.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

According to legend, Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China, a ritual dance of some 5,000 years ago. In 1973, choreographer Lin Hwai-min adopted this classical name for the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese speaking community: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan.

Cloud Gate has gone on 1,500 overseas tours throughout the continents of Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. It has grown in stature and size over the years and is now a full-time troupe of about two dozen dancers and a team of support professionals.

"Cursive" program list

Feb. 17, Friday, 8:15 p.m., "Cursive II"

Feb. 18, Saturday, 8:15 p.m., "Cursive III"

Feb. 19, Sunday, 3 p.m., "Cursive II"

Feb. 19, Sunday, 8:15 p.m., "Cursive III"

Venue: Grand Theater, Hong Kong Cultural Center

Add: 10 Salisburg Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Booking: (852) 2734-2009

HK Metro: Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit E

Tickets: HK$350/280/200/150/100 (adult), HK$100/75/50 (student)

Editor: Wing

By: Source:Szdaily web edition
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