THE dances of four young Taiwanese choreographers will be showcased in mid-November when Cloud Gate II makes its debut in Shanghai.
Famed Taiwanese dancer, choreographer and writer Lin Hwai-min, founder of Cloud Gates I and II, will lead the troupe. Cloud Gate II is the satellite troupe attached to Taiwan's leading modern-dance company, Cloud Gate.
Unlike its parent company, which performs mainly the works of Lin, Cloud Gate II focuses on the choreography of young Taiwanese dancemakers. It was founded in 1999.
From November 16 through 18, five dances by four choreographers will be performed. They include "Tantalus" by Wu Kuo-chu (1970-2006) adapted from the Greek myth. Wu was the art director of the Kassel Theater in Germany; he died at the age of 36.
Huang Yi is the youngest choreographer of the four and winner of multiple awards. He is talented in art technology. His two works are "Wicked Fish," inspired by the movement of fish and people, and "See You Next Time," an "office" story.
Cheng Tsung-lung has won honors in Germany, Spain and Italy. His work is "Wall."
"At that time I was 32 years old and suffered from the 'period of wall-bump'- I felt that I didn't know how to communicate with other people," Cheng says. He expressed those feelings through dance. After watching the performance, members of the audience told them they shared his feelings of anxiety when bumping into a communications wall.
Bulareyaung Pagarlava belongs to an aboriginal group in Taiwan. After living in New York, he returned to Taiwan in 1999, joining newly founded Cloud Gate II. He was 26 at the time.
He says he had nightmares at the time because of intense pressure, and elements of his bad dreams formed his creation "Passage." "Some people told me that the feeling of watching this dance was like dreaming," he says.
Cloud Gate II has two aims - to take dance into neighborhoods and campuses and to provide a platform for young choreographers and dancers, Lin says. Lin founded Cloud Gate Dance Theater and Cloud Gate I in the early 1970s. Performances were mostly staged in residential communities and on school campuses. As the troupe became more successful, it was invited to big theaters.
Feedback from enthusiastic audiences in small villages and in big cities, such as New York and London, has been very satisfying.
"The more basic the venues in which you stage, the more classical the shows should be," he says. "We hope our dancers can help people feel relaxed and we think it's possible that everybody can dance."
Cloud Gate II began touring last year in Hong Kong, going on to Europe and New York. Now it's coming to Shanghai.
"I am proud that all the choreographers in this team are not like me," Lin says in jest. "They are living in modern society, closely connected to the world with the Internet. They are less linked to and pressured by traditions, and their themes come from the basics of their life."
For example, when Cheng was young, he helped his father sell slippers in the street.
Lin's own works are considered thought-provoking; he calls the upcoming Cloud Gate II showcase "very delicious."