The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago presents the return of Asia’s leading contemporary dance company, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, March 2 and 3 at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago.
Cloud Gate shares that their Artistic Director/Choreographer Lin Hwai-min's newest evening-length work, Formosa, takes his homeland as inspiration for a work of abstract beauty born from land and lore. In the 16th century, gazing out from ships off the coast of China, it's said that when Portuguese sailors saw a great green mass, thick with mountains and trees, rising from the sea. “Formosa!” they exclaimed—“beautiful!”—anointing the verdant place that would come to be known as Taiwan. Using gesture, script, song and other elements from the island as raw material, Lin says that he and dancers "hope to create a lustrous, transfigured sphere—a playground of love and life, mediated by tragedy, hope and rebirth." Music by award-winning indigenous singer Sangpuy serves as the soundtrack as the dancers mingle in intimations of community, making tribal ritual and urban bustle seem as one.
Formosa premiered November 24 in Taiwan. The Chicago performances are among the first in the United States, following a February 25 performance at the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium.
“Chicago has a well-deserved reputation as a center for contemporary dance,” said Jim McDonough, executive director of Alphawood Foundation Chicago. “Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan is Asia’s leading contemporary dance company. We have been proud to support Cloud Gate’s previous Chicago appearances, and we are thrilled to partner with the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago to present them here again.”
According to legend, Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China, a ritual dance of some 5,000 years ago. In 1973, internationally renowned choreographer Lin Hwai-min adopted this classical name for the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese-speaking community: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. Cloud Gate's rich repertoire has its roots in Asian myths, folklore and aesthetics, but it brings to these age-old beliefs and stories a contemporary and universal perspective. The dancers of the company receive training from the West and the East, including Qi Gong, meditation, internal martial arts, modern dance and ballet.
“Cloud Gate is making its seventh tour to Chicago, the fourth presented by the Dance Center,” said Lin Hwai-min, who recently announced his plan to retire at the end of 2019. “Among many cities we have visited around the world, Chicago is remembered as one of the friends we love to revisit, for the beauty of its architecture and the warmth audiences have bestowed on Cloud Gate.”
Pre-performance talks with Lin Hwai-min—led by Ashley Wheater, artistic director, The Joffrey Ballet on March 2 and Bonnie Brooks, director, Third Way Projects on March 3—take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Harris Theater, free to ticket holders. Additional residency activities with community partners and Columbia College Chicago students take place throughout the week leading up to the performance weekend.
March 2 and 3 7:30 PM
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
205 E. Randolph Drive