CriticalDance Forum

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (UK and World tours) 2008
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Author:  David [ Sat Sep 22, 2007 6:08 am ]
Post subject:  Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (UK and World tours) 2008

UK Tour Dates 2008

Cloud Gate have now released dates for their 2008 UK tour. They are as follows:

Wed 16 - Sat 19 April: Sadler's Wells, London.
Tue 22 - Wed 23 April: Millennium Centre, Cardiff.
Fri 25 - Sat 26 April: Festival Theatre, Edinburgh.
Tue 29 - Wed 30 April: Hippordrome Theatre, Birmingham.
Fri 2 - Sat 3 May: Lowry, Salford.
Wed 7 May: Milton Keynes Theatre.

"Moon Water" will be performed in all venues.

The tour is being promoted by the Dance Consortium.

Other world dates will be available at the end of November.

Author:  David [ Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre have announced the following performances for 2008:

April 3: New York (Guggenheim) - Wind Shadow excerpts

April 10-12: Madrid. Moon Water.

April 16- May 7: UK tour of Moon Water. See above post for dates and venues.

May 14-17: Parma (Reggio Theatre), Italy. Moon Water.

May 23-24: Bilbao, Spain. Moon Water.

July 12: Taipei. Outdoor performance. Repertory tba.

August 30-31: Manila, Philippines. Moon Water.

September 12-13: Chiayi, Taiwan. New work (ch Lin Hwai-min)*

September 26-30: Taipei (National Theatre). Moon Water.

October 3-12: Taipei (National Theatre). New work (ch Lin Hwai-min)*.

October 17-18: Taichung (Chungshan Hall), Taiwan. New work (ch Lin Hwai-min)*.

October 24-25: Tainan (Cultural Centre), Taiwan. New work (ch Lin Hwai-min)*.

November 22: Wuppertal, Germany. Wind Shadow (Foreign premiere)

November 27-29: Athens. Moon Water.

* The Chinese title for this work literally translates as “flower words”. A correct English title has yet to be announced.

Information as published in the programme for the November/December 2007 Taiwan tour.

Author:  David [ Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:15 am ]
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Major fire destroys Cloud Gate studios

A major fire destroyed the Cloud Gate studios in Taiwan in the early morning of the 11th. The cause is believed to be electrical.

Items destroyed include a considerable volume of archive materials, along with costumes, props and technical equaipment. Among the items destriyed were costumes for Moon Water, Wind Shadow and Nine Songs.

Although the setback is considerable and difficult to overcome, the company has stressed that the 121 performances schedules for 2008 will continue as planned.

Author:  David [ Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Cloud Gate fire

Blaze devastates Cloud Gate studios

I now have a few more details about the fire at the Cloud Gate studios.

The fire was at the company’s studios in Bali, just outside Taipei, their home since 1992. It occurred the day before they were due to resume work after their break for Chinese New Year. It broke out around 2.30am in the warehouse area, where a number of cargo containers were stored. Firefighters brought the blaze under control after about an hour, but the interior of the 7,000 square feet main studio, a considerable amount of props, scenery, lighting and office equipment, and an immeasurable amount of music and production archive dating back to 1975, was destroyed. However, no-one was injured.

A small studio at the site, mainly used by Cloud Gate 2, and the wardrobe room, were fortunately spared. However, the costumes for “Wind Shadow”, Lin Hwai-min’s collaboration with renowned Chinese visual artist Cai Quo-qiang, which is being adapted for a site-specific performance at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on April 3rd, and which will get its full overseas premiere at the Pina Bausch festival in Wuppertaal on November 22nd, as well as those for “Moon Water”, were lost in the fire.

“The fire was a test from Buddha”, said Lin. “Buddha must think that Cloud Gate is still young at 35 and can tackle a new challenge. And we are ready for it.”

Thanks to support from government and various cultural institutions, the company has secured a couple of spaces to rehearse in until the end of the year. Cloud Gate 2 continues to work in the small studio that survived. Looking further ahead, the company are now evaluating the possibility of restoring the studio and/or finding a new home.

Although all the costumes for “Wind Shadow” and “Moon Water”, the latter shortly to tour to Spain and the UK, will have to be immediately recreated, Cloud Gate is determined and confident that all the 121 performances in Taiwan and overseas in 2008 will go ahead as planned. These begin at Taipei’s Novel hall on March 26th with Lin’s latest work, “Song of Birds”, and works by Taiwanese emerging choreographers.

Author:  ncgnet [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:35 am ]
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In the Boston Phoenix, Marcia Siegel writes about several dance events in NYC, finishing up with a description of a performance by Cloud Gate Dance Theater:
Scenes from the city

Author:  David [ Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:03 am ]
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"Wind Shadow", the piece which the sections shown at the Guggenheim were taken (albeit changed for the setting) is indeed quite an amazing piece. It gets its overseas premiere at the Wuppertaal Festival in Germany later this year and will be touring in 2009, including to London.

Author:  David [ Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:23 am ]
Post subject:  Cloud Gate selects new site

Cloud Gate chooses site for new studios

Following the disastrous fire at their rehearsal studios in Bali, just outside Taipei, in February, Cloud Gate Dance Theater has decided to not to rebuild in the same location. Instead they will move to a new site in Danshui, a coastal town popular for day trips and also to the north of the city.

The new site is a disused art and education complex. Parts were also formerly used as a radio station from which broadcasts were made to China.

When we talked in London this week, Artistic Director Lin Hwai-min explained that the new complex will not only house the reherasal studios, but also the company offices (presently in downtown Taipei), education facilities, and a small theatre. That means everything will be on the same site for the very first time.

Lin said that a great deal of work needs to be done before they can move in, and that they don't expect everything to the finished for around three years.

In the meantime, the company has chosen the Taiwan Human Rights Memorial Park in Taipei City's Jingmei district as a mid-term rehearsal venue and will start to use it from March.

Author:  David [ Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:26 am ]
Post subject:  Moon Water

‘Moon Water’ - Cloud Gate Dance Theatre
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London; April 16, 2008

“Flowers in a mirror and the moon on the water are both illusory.” So goes a Chinese proverb. And indeed, so entrancing is Lin Hwai-min’s “Moon Water” that you start to wonder if it is really all a dream.

The curtain rises to reveal a man, alone, on a stage filled with a simple white pattern on the black floor, looking as if made by some giant calligraphy brush. Tsai Ming-yuan gave us a beautifully controlled twisting solo before being joined by Huang Pei-hua. They dance together, sometimes in unison, before unexpectedly, but always smoothly breaking apart. So perfect are the moments of unison you wonder how it is done. They are so on each other’s wavelength that they rarely, if ever, feel the need to look at each other. Slowly they are joined by others, including a group who at first seem to move like some plant in water as it gently but unceasingly ebbs back and forth, their movements seamlessly folding into one another.

Lin Hwai-min’s choreography conveys the theme of the work through the tai-chi dao-yin based movements. This ancient form of tai-chi emphasizes circularity. Just as water circles around a bowl or meanders rather than taking a direct line, so do the dancers bodies. He mixes movement that is both organic and powerful with moments of amazing stillness. It has angularity and lots of turned in elbows, knees and ankles, yet maintains an incredible and effortless flow. So grounded are the dancers that even when balancing on one leg they seem like a heavy statue, completely motionless.

Just as you start to wonder where it’s going, the stage slowly and almost imperceptibly begins to fill with water. Then the blackness of the background gives way to giant mirrored panels. At first, the water simply acts as yet another mirror, reflecting dancers’ and their billowing white trousers. The water could be seen as a gimmick, and heaven knows we see enough of those in choreography these days, but here it just adds to the beauty and theatricality of the scene. Occasionally, a sweep of a leg that sends spray across the stage, but the dancers seem not to notice, their costumes now soaked, revealing the lithe bodies underneath.

And then, slowly it draws to a close. The dancers almost seem to fade away, eventually leaving us with a stage, empty, except for the ripples on the water, the gentle sound of it running and our memories of what we have seen. Was it all an illusion? So bound up was the Sadler’s Wells audience that it seemed to take a few minutes for them to realise it was indeed all over.

Cloud Gate uses meditation as part of their training and if there is a more mediative, soothing piece of choreography, I’m not sure that I’ve seen it. “Moon Water” has been called balletic, and in some ways with its duets, solos and group dances it is, but there are no spectacular leaps, no big lifts, and no visual communication with the audience. The dancers do talk to us, but it’s all with the body and the breath.

The work is perfectly complimented by a recording of Mischa Maisky playing nine selections from Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello. It’s deliberately played somewhat slower than usual, but that only serves to add to the subtleness of the choreography. Far from dancing to the music, the dancers seem to embody it completely and become at one with it. At times it is almost as if it’s coming from their bodies.

“Moon Water” is a journey into darkness and light, and a study of the real and the unreal. It’s all about the body, breath and being at one with your surroundings. There is no narrative, simply a gradual accumulation of detail. It’s dance in its purest form and a riveting 70 minutes. Don’t miss it.

“Moon Water” continues on tour to Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Salford and Milton Keynes.

Author:  David [ Sat May 10, 2008 10:41 am ]
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Cloud Gate have now left for Italy, but since Sadler's Wells I've had two more opportunities to see "Moon Water" - in Birmingham and Miltob Keynes. Both were as excellent as the London performance.

The Birmingham one wasn't even spoiled by a leaky roof. Yes, about two-third through the show there was a drip, drip sound and a wet patch appearing stage left. Apparently there was a severe rain shower outside and some water got in. Still, if it was to happen at any show I guess this was it. The local paper even thought it was planned - so it must have been convincing!

In Milton Keynes I saw the show from the satlls for the first time. I'll admit to being worried about not seeing the reflections on the stage fully, and indeed, to some extent you couldn't. But it did reveal a whole host of things I hadn't spotted before. Maybe there's not an ideal place to see the show from after all.

Cloud Gate will be back in London in 2009, although they will not be touring round the UK. If they bring the work that is planned (and sorry, I can't say what), it's worth waiting for!

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