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Cloud Gate Theater marks 10 years, to revive 'Spring Riot'

02/22/2024 10:00 PM
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Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung (left) poses with choreographers Sun Wen-chi (center) and Wang Yeu-kwn at the Cloud Gate Theater in New Taipei Thursday. Photo courtesy of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Feb. 22, 2024
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung (left) poses with choreographers Sun Wen-chi (center) and Wang Yeu-kwn at the Cloud Gate Theater in New Taipei Thursday. Photo courtesy of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Feb. 22, 2024

New Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) The Cloud Gate Theater in Tamsui District, New Taipei, is marking its 10th year as home to the eponymous dance troupe, which concluded its 50th anniversary celebration last year, with the revival of "Spring Riot," a program staged when the theater first opened in 2015.

"I'm an artist who grew up with Spring Riot," said Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍) at a press conference at the New Taipei theater that day.

Through "Spring Riot," guest photographers have been able to create works with Cloud Gate's dancers and resources, including technical assistance to realize the design of the set and administrative works, Cheng said.

Cheng said he hopes to expand the scope of "Spring Riot" from helping young choreographers explore and realize whatever ideas they have on the stage to presenting works from new generations of choreographers to provide new perspectives and to communicate with people in the new age.

Cheng is set to present his first video work in the spring program scheduled for late May, along with new pieces from guest choreographers Su Wen-chi (蘇文琪) and Wang Yeu-kwn (王宇光), according to a statement released by Cloud Gate.

Formally launched in 2001, "Spring Riot" was Cloud Gate 2's annual presentation of young and upcoming artists, and also the first program staged at the Cloud Gate Theater, in April 2015.

The Cloud Gate Theater in Tamsui District, New Taipei. CNA photo Feb. 22, 2024
The Cloud Gate Theater in Tamsui District, New Taipei. CNA photo Feb. 22, 2024

Cloud Gate 2 was established in 1999 to promote the art of dance in local communities and nurture new talent. It had been led by Cheng since 2014 before it was merged with Cloud Gate Dance Theatre in 2019 after Cheng was named as founder Lin Hwai-min's (林懷民) successor.

The last production of Cloud Gate 2 was Cheng's "Lunar Halo" (毛月亮) in 2019, which had its overseas premiere during Cloud Gate's European tour in December and will be staged in a tour of Taiwan from March 7-31.

For his first video work, Cheng collaborated with photographer Chuan Ming-yuan (全明遠) and created a 22-minute film, which featured high-speed photography to showcase details of a dancer's body and movements as a "cinematic spectacle," according to Cloud Gate.

Meanwhile, Su said her first new work in five years is inspired by a young Ukrainian dancer who attended her weeklong workshop in Paris last year.

The dancer, a refugee in France, told Su how her visit to a shop to buy a second-hand coat before packing up at the end of the workshop made her feel a sense of guilt when she thought of people back in Ukraine who could not have the life she has in France.

The dancer's experience made her realize that many things taken for granted by some people are not so for others, the choreographer said.

Su said she did not want to tackle big issues in society or war, but to create a piece based on people's everyday-life movements, including packing luggage, for the audience to reflect on their life and situation in the real world.

Cloud Gate 2 dancers perform during a press preview of the "Spring Riot" program at the Cloud Gate Dance Theater in New Taipei on April 19, 2015. CNA file photo
Cloud Gate 2 dancers perform during a press preview of the "Spring Riot" program at the Cloud Gate Dance Theater in New Taipei on April 19, 2015. CNA file photo

Meanwhile, Wang's piece marks his return to the theater this year as a choreographer after being a dancer in the 2015 "Spring Riot," his last performance with Cloud Gate, he said.

Echoing Cheng's remarks, Wang said "I should say I'm a dancer who grew up with 'Spring Riot'" as the former Could Gate 2 dancer talked about his relationship with the revived program.

His piece "Be There" was inspired by noticing how an audience member at a concert in Vienna naturally moved his body while enjoying the music.

He said he seeks to explore how people feel and react to others' presence and actions in the same space.

In addition to the program, Cloud Gate will also present in the theater's studio works in progress by two of its dancers, as they explore becoming a choreographer, according to Cloud Gate.

Four shows of this year's Spring Riot will be staged at the Cloud Gate Theater on May 25-26, while the work in progress session will be in the afternoon on both days.

An outdoor fair in the afternoon and a concert in the evening will be held around the venue on those days, according to Cloud Gate.

(By Kay Liu)

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