Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan to make Seattle debut — Songs of the Wanderers, a masterpiece of modern dance by choreographer Lin Hwai-min

By Marino Saito
Northwest Asian Weekly

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Dancers move through their pilgrim journey. (Photo by Yu-Hui Hung)

Lin Hwai-min will accompany Cloud Gate to Seattle for its UW World Series (UWWS) engagement at the beginning of next month.

“I am very excited that we will be able to bring choreographer Lin Hwai Min and Cloud Gate to Seattle for the first time,” said Michell M. Witt, executive director of Meany Hall and artistic director of UW World Series. “As Asia’s most acclaimed contemporary dance choreographer and company, it is a great honor to be able to have Mr. Lin and Cloud Gate in Seattle in a work that is particularly emblematic of the company’s aesthetic and values.”

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A monk stands still while a shimmering stream of rice grains shower his head. (Photo by Hsieh An)

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, internationally renowned 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 features a repertoire rooted in Asian mythology, folklore, and aesthetics with a modern sensibility. Its 24 dancers receive trainings of meditation, Qi Gong, an ancient form of breathing exercise, internal martial arts, modern dance, ballet, and calligraphy. Through Lin Hwai-min’s choreography, the company transforms ancient aesthetics into a modern celebration of motion, making “stillness as eloquent as animation.”

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Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan will perform three shows in March. (Photo by Yu-Hui Hung)

Returning to the Northwest for the first time since Vancouver’s 2010 Cultural Olympiad, the company’s Seattle debut will feature Songs of the Wanderers, a “visually stunning work inspired by Siddhartha’s quest for enlightenment.”

During the show, a monk stands in a corner throughout the 90-minute performance, while a shimmering stream of rice grains “shower like a summer storm and waterfalls” onto his head, as dancers in ragged garb move slowly in a pilgrim journey. (end)

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan performs at Meany Hall from March 6 through March 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $43 to $48, and may be purchased by phone at 206-543-4880, online at http://www.meany.org/tickets/?prod=6240, or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office. Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington. Discounts are available for students, seniors (65+), UW Alumni Association members, and UW employees. UW student tickets start at $10.

Marino Saito can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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