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First lady in Auckland to support Taiwan's dance troupe

2011/03/13 19:29:34

Auckland, New Zealand, March 13 (CNA) Renowned dance troupe UTheatre was ready for its first performance in New Zealand asTaiwan's first lady Chow Mei-ching arrived Sunday as the troupe'shonorary leader to show her support.

U Theatre is scheduled to deliver four shows, titled "Sound ofthe Ocean, " as one of the featured groups at the biennial AucklandArts Festival from March 15-18 during the event's final week.

The troupe was invited to the festival by David Malacari, theevent's artistic director, four years ago in Hong Kong, said UTheatre founder and artistic director Liu Ruo-yu, after Malacari sawU Theatre.

"The invitation was actually made four years ago. It (theinvitation) was very meaningful for us, " Liu said.

"Sound of the Ocean" was inspired by water and depicts water'scyclical journey from a tiny drop to the crashing waves of the mightysea with an assortment of temple bells, drums, gongs and cymbals, Liusaid.

Around a dozen dancers and technical staff arrived in Auckland onMarch 10 to prepare for the show, according to Liu.

Chow, who has been devoted to charity work and providing supportfor sports and arts groups since she became the first lady in 2008,arrived in Auckland at 6:30 p.m. Sunday and visited the troupe at thehotel where Chow will stay with the dancers.

Accompanied by Elliott Y.L. Charng, Taiwan's representative toNew Zealand, Chow remembered every dancer by name and embraced themwith hugs outside the hotel lobby.

The first lady is scheduled to appear at U Theatre's rehearsaland performances as well as visiting local schools for charitypurposes during her stay from March 13-18.

The Auckland Arts Festival 2011, which is taking place from March2-20, includes dance and music performances as well as visual artsand theater. The four festivals held to date have attracted acombined 880,000 people, according to the organizer.

Founded by Liu in 1988, U Theatre combines contemporary Westerntheatrical techniques with Zen Buddhist philosophy. It has been knownfor its disciplined training in various forms, including acting,martial arts, drumming, Tai-Chi, dance and meditation on themountains on the outskirts of Taipei.

(By Chris Wang)
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