Cloud Gate Dance Theatre
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan (Chinese: 雲門舞集) is a modern dance group based in Taiwan. It was founded by choreographer Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) in 1973, and later he shared its management with his late protégé, Lo Man-fei (羅曼菲), a renowned choreographer in her own right.
Lin Hwai-min, in addition to being the founder and creative force behind Cloud Gate is also an important author of short stories, and was intimately involved in the literary scene in Taiwan in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Cloud Gate thrilled the Taiwan cultural scene when it came into being in the 1970s with an unbroken series of innovative dances and dance directions. Lin Hwai-min led the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre in their first public performance at Zhongshan Hall in Taipei in 1970. Lin, himself, exhibits tireless curiosity about new forms and directions, and consequently Cloud Gate blends its roots in Asian mythology, folklore, and aesthetics with a modern sensibility. Dancers practice and perform using such diverse movement disciplines and artistic approaches as t'ai chi, meditation, martial arts, modern dance, and ballet.
Cloud Gate created numerous dances that evoked the unique experience of Taiwan people within the larger Chinese and Asian context, including such works as White Serpent Tale (bai she zhuan), an adaptation of a centerpiece of the Chinese folk canon, Legend of the White Snake ; Crossing the Ocean (du hai), a dance rich with layered references to generations of Chinese who have crossed the Taiwan Straits to reach Taiwan; Liao Tianding, about a legendary Taiwanese Robin Hood character who foiled oppressive officials during the period of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan:139-142; and Wu Feng, a long form piece with echoes of The Rite of Spring, about the Wu Feng Legend, concerning an official from the Chinese Mainland who was involved in early efforts to pacify aborigines in Taiwan:111.
Known for its extensive international tours, Cloud Gate has performed in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. The company also spends much of its time performing throughout Taiwan, and is generally acknowledged as the country's premier dance organisation. In recognition of its importance locally and internationally, on August 21, 2003, Taiwan's government proclaimed the day "Cloud Gate Day" and named the street on which the company's office lies "Cloud Gate Lane." This was the first time in Taiwan's history a day and place were named after a living artist or active artistic organisation.
The organisation has two branches other than its main dance company. One, called "Cloud Gate 2", tours communities and works with and helps develop young dancers and choreographers. It was founded in 1999. The other, Cloud Gate Dance School was founded in 1998 with a view to making dance education more broadly available.
2008: a new era begins for Cloud Gate
A February 11, 2008 fire destroyed the Cloud Gate Dance Theater's "1,324 m2 rehearsal studio, costume, props and production archives." Donations to rebuild totaled NT$370 million (US$12 million) from 175 business groups and 3,973 individuals (as of July 15, 2008 Taipei Times article reporting), while the government donated a former art and education site in Danshui (淡水).
"Whisper of Flowers," the first new production to be staged after the fire razed and demolished the dance company's rehearsal studio in Bali, has been a piece created in celebration of Cloud Gate's 35-year milestone. The production was first premiered in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, on September 12, 2008.
- Yang, Meng-Yu (1998). Cloud Nine:Lin Hwai-Min and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. Taipei: Tian xia yuan jian chu ban gu fen you xian gong si.
- Taiwan Culture Portal:Cloud Gate at 35 blooms with "Whisper of Flowers"
- Lo Man-fei story, 25 March 2006 (English)
- Cloud Gate Dance Theatre web site (English) (Chinese)
- Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan Digital Archive Project (Chinese)
- Hwai-min, Lin. (2006) "Body Language", ARTS HUB AUSTRALIA - www.artshub.com.au
- Cloudgate Dance Theatre: Songs of the Wanderers (1999) at IMDb