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Cloud Gate 2 performs dance reminiscent of ancient monk's slow walk

2019/06/23 21:25:52

Photo credit Huang Hong-Chi

Taipei, June 23 (CNA) Dim lighting, slow body movements, and winding hallways representing sand dunes were all part of a production titled "the Dune," which was presented by contemporary dance group Cloud Gate 2 in Yilan to create mirage-like images inspired by the historic travels of an ancient Buddhist monk.

The performance was held at the county's Zhuangwei Dune Visitor Center, which has winding hallways carpeted in black sand and a pond designed by renowned architect Huang Sheng-yuan (黃聲遠).

Presented in two segments, the performance allowed the audience to walk around the hallways and rooms in the visitor center, close to the dancers.

Photo credit Huang Hong-Chi

Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍), artistic director of Cloud Gate 2, said the performance was inspired by the mysterious layout of the visitor center and the works of film director Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮), who has made numerous films that focus on the aesthetics of slow walking.

"The venue feels like a cave or labyrinth, so we wanted to create the sense that the dancers were actually a mirage, as they moved past the audience like shadows," Cheng said.

The performance also lured the audience to slow down to the pace of the dancers, as the audience walked around enjoying the show, he said.

Photo credit Huang Hong-Chi

Commenting on the performance, Tsai commended Cloud Gate 2 for matching its choreography to the unorthodox performance venue, which was inaugurated on April 28, 2018.

"I think it is a new and very daring performance because this space is not a stage, not a traditional performance venue," Tsai said, who is also the curator of a two-year exhibit in which his slow walking movies are projected onto the walls of the exhibition rooms at the visitors' center.

Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮, right)

He said the slow walking idea emerged in 2011 when he saw Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-shen (李康生) on stage making slow moves that were very fascinating.

"In a walking scene in a theater play, Lee's slow and quiet way of walking seemed similar to that of Xuanzhang, who walked west to India more than 1,000 years ago in search of sacred Buddhist writings," Tsai said.

Since 2012, Tsai has made eight short films featuring Lee's slow walking, namely No Form (2012), Walker (2012), Sleepwalk (2012), Diamond Sutra (2012), Walking on Water (2013), Journey to the West (2014), No No Sleep (2015), and Sand (2018).

Cloud Gate 2, a spinoff of the internationally renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, was established in 1999 by Cloud Gate founder and artistic director Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) to give young choreographers and dancers an opportunity to showcase their original work.

(By William Yen)