Cloud Gate Dance Theatre
Cloud Gate Dance Theater (Chinese: 雲門舞集) is a modern dance group based in Taiwan, the first of its kind in Taiwan and Asia. It was founded by choreographer Lin Hwai-min in 1973, and later he shared its management with his late protégé, Lo Man-fei, a renowned choreographer in her own right. The troupe was inactive from October 1988 to September 1990. During this time, Lin spent time abroad in India and Indonesia, and studied at New York University.
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 Theater in their first public performance at Zhongshan Hall in Taipei in 1972. 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 organization. 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 organization.
The organization 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. After the death of Lo Man-fei, Lin Hwai-min ran Cloud Gate 2 until 2014, when Cheng Tsung-lung took over. Cheng had been with the troupe as guest choreographer since 2006.
2008: a new era begins for Cloud Gate
On 11 February 2008, a fire destroyed the Cloud Gate Dance Theater's studio, costume, props and records dating to 1975 in the production archives. Donations to rebuild totaled NT$370 million (US$12 million) from 175 business groups and 3,973 individuals, while the government donated a former art and education site in Danshui. The Danshui facilities were inaugurated on 19 April 2015. It includes a 450-seat theater, a 1,500 person outdoor theater and two studios.
"Whisper of Flowers," the first new production to be staged after the fire razed and demolished the dance company's rehearsal studio in Bali, was a piece specifically created in celebration of Cloud Gate's 35-year anniversary. The production was first premiered in Chiayi on September 12, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cloud Gate Dance Theatre.|
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