This year’s Kuandu Arts Festival (關渡藝術節), which opened on Sept. 23 and runs through Nov. 29, is focused on music.
Under the theme “Joy of Music,” a nod to the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, the program features performances by seven symphony orchestras as well as several Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學) student and faculty shows, in addition to the annual film and animation festivals.
However, there is still room for other performing arts, and two productions this weekend and next at the university in the hills of Taipei’s Guandu area (關渡) feature students from the School of Dance.
Photo courtesy of Chang Chia-hou
The dance department is celebrating its 38th anniversary, so it is fitting that this weekend’s show, Four Chapters Of The Floating Life (浮生四闕), feature works ranging from ballet to contemporary to post-modern, choreographed by two faculty members, a guest professor and an alumnus.
The show’s artistic director, Chiang Chiou-o (蔣秋娥), choreographed 2020 Spring, a classical ballet-based work set to Max Richier’s take on the “Spring” section from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
Alumnus and Batsheva dancer turned freelance dancer/choreographer Lee Chen-wei (李貞葳) has contributed Unfold Unpaid (非常非償), an exploration of the conflicts and disasters confronting modern society, set to music by Teho Teardo, Death Grips, Ben Frost and others.
Photo courtesy of the Kuandu Arts Festival
Australian Leigh Warren’s GREEN T, created for graduate students, is a three-part work inspired by the ideals of the postmodern movement and the pop culture of the time, set to music by John Cage and Steve Reich.
The final work on the program is The Floating Life (浮生) by Zhang Xiaoxiong (張曉雄), a restaging of a work he created for the 2006 Hong Kong Dance Academy Dance Festival, To Friends in Heaven.
Zhang adapted the piece for Taipei Crossover Dance Company (台北越界舞團) in 2008 and then restaged it this year for the students.
Photo courtesy of Formosa Circus Art
Set to Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, it is a powerful work focusing on the relationship between work and history, dance and music.
Back in 2008, he said it was about “people who could not choose the time and environment in which they lived, but who had the courage to face what they had to and the pride to do so.”
Then-TNUA student Wu Chien-wei (吳建緯) gave a mesmerizing performance in the 2008 production, and I am looking forward to seeing what the current crop of students do with it this time.
Photo courtesy of Wu Jun-yen
Zhang also choreographed another work for the festival, Through Mist And Rain (一蓑煙雨), which will be performed next weekend by TNUA students.
It is the latest installment of a collaboration between the university’s School of Music and School of Dance that began in 2018.
The first version of Through Mist And Rain debuted last year as a 30-minute work, but Zhang and his collaborators conducted additional research and field work to expand it to 60 minutes.
There are two shows, Saturday next week at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm in the Dance Theater and tickets are NT$600.
Meanwhile, dance is also key to a performance at the Cloud Gate Theater this week, with help from another TNUA alumnus.
The Formosa Circus Art (FOCA, 福爾摩沙馬戲團) troupe will perform the final installment of its crossover trilogy, Moss (苔痕).
Moss is a collaboration with the Germany-based Peculiar Man, founded by Tien Tsai-wei (田采薇), a dancer with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, and Jan Mollmer, and combines circus stunts and acrobatics with dance theater.
The idea was to focus on exploring the meaning behind the performance, and the production was inspired by a photograph of an abandoned building covered with vines, which conjured up the idea of a house of forgotten dreams and memories.
FOCA says the show explores loss, absence, presence and loneliness.
WHAT: Four Chapters Of The Floating Life
WHEN: Tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: Taipei National University of the Arts Dance Theater (國立臺北藝術大學展演藝術中心戲劇廳), 1 Xueyuan Rd, Beitou District, Taipei City (台北市北投區學園路1號)
ADMISSION: NT$400; available at NTCH and Eslite ticket desks, online at www.artsticket.com.tw, at convenience store ticketing kiosks. Saturday evening and Sunday shows are sold out.
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday at 3pm
WHERE: Cloud Gate Theater (淡水雲門劇場), 36, Ln 6, Zhongzheng Rd Sec 1, Tamsui District, New Taipei City (新北市淡水區中正路一段6巷36號)
ADMISSION: NT$400 to NT$1,000; available at NTCH box offices and bookstore ticketing outlets, online at www.artsticket.com.tw and at convenience store kiosks nationwide. Only a few seats are left for both shows.
One often hears that the people of Taiwan are 98 percent Han, a complicated cultural term that is often used to imply a certain genetic relationship as well. Yet among the pre-1949 population of Taiwan, roughly 45 percent are descended from immigrants from Quanzhou (泉州) in China. Who might these people be? In medieval times Quanzhou was one of the world’s greatest ports, a melting pot of peoples from India and northeast, southeast and central Asia, along with Han and other peoples we now identify as “Chinese.” Merchants from Quanzhou competed in the southeast Asian textile trade, shipping cottons from India
COVID-19 has been racking the world, and there’s hardly a person alive who doesn’t want to see 2020 in the rear view mirror. Taiwan of course has proven to be an island of safety during this epidemic. In appreciation of that as well as giving 2020 an early send off, Brandon Thompson, Adoga, and Taipei Next have prepared a fitting music fest, “Forget 2020” or in the vernacular, “F#ck 2020.” It’s a late-night-early-morning festival where you’ll hear some 30 vocalists and musicians performing many of your favorite songs from the past two decades. Expect hits from the rise of Bruno, Slim,
NOV. 23 to NOV. 29 Japanese researchers initially thought that the Saisiyat Aborigines’ Pasta’ay festival was a New Year celebration. A drawing of a Saisiyat man dancing with a kirakil, a ceremonial headdress used during the Pasta’ay, appeared in a 1906 issue of Record of Taiwan’s Customs, where the author noted that it “represented reverence to their ancestral spirits.” Ten years would pass before the Temporary Taiwan Old Customs Investigation Committee published the earliest description of the ceremony. “The Pasta’ay is held to worship the Ta’ay people, who were a diminutive race living in the caves of the Maiparai Mountains,” the
“Easy-peasy,” you’re probably saying, “I should have done this years ago.” Such are the joys of riding with a strong wind at your back, which, at this time of year, should be pushing you southwestwards for a second successive day, like a 19th-century clipper racing to deliver Queen Victoria’s favorite Oriental Beauty tea (東方美人) from New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) to London. Enjoy it while it lasts. The Tourism Bureau’s handbook Cycling Around Taiwan sends you off down Provincial Highway 61, which is about as exciting as it sounds. In any case, you’ll have plenty of time in days to