Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan Debuts in Seattle, 3/6

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan Debuts in Seattle, 3/6

Founded in 1973 by acclaimed choreographer Lin Hwai-min as the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese-speaking community, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan features a repertoire rooted in Asian mythology, folklore, and aesthetics with a modern sensibility. Returning to the Northwest for the first time since Vancouver's 2010 Cultural Olympiad, the company makes their Seattle debut with Songs of the Wanderers, a visually stunning work inspired by Siddhartha's quest for enlightenment and brought to life on an astonishing set of 3-1/2 tons of shimmering golden grains of rice. Lin Hwai-min will accompany Cloud Gate to Seattle for their UW World Series engagement.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan performs at Meany HallThursday-Saturday, March 6-8, 2014 at 8pm. Tickets are $43-48. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 206-543-4880, online, or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office. Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington.

About Songs of the Wanderers

A monk stands still at a downstage corner throughout the 90-minute performance, while a shimmering stream of rice grains showering from above and onto his shaved head. Golden rice grains on stage transform from a river to hills to a desert. Rice grains shower like a summer storm and waterfalls. Onto this landscape, dancers in ragged garb holding a tall staff, move slowly in a pilgrim journey.

Inspired by the wealth of religious practices found throughout Asia, and Herman Hesse's account of Siddhartha's quest for enlightenment, Lin Hwai-min transforms ancient rites into resonant dance theatre.

A visually stunning paean to spiritual pilgrimage, Songs of the Wanderers creates a world of intense reverence, distinctly Asian in its imagery yet with powerful relevance far beyond Asia. Spiritually evocative movements set to soulful Georgian folksongs are brought to life on a truly astonishing set with 3½ tons of shimmering golden grains of rice.

The production has been toured to more than 20 countries, acclaimed a masterpiece at festivals and theatres, including the Internationales Tanzfestival NRW directed by the late Pina Bausch, the Next Wave Festival in New York, the American Dance Festival, Paris quartier d'été, the Bergen International Festival, Lucerne Festival, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Festival Iberoamericano de teatro de Bogotá, International Festival of Contemporary Dance and Movement Theatre TANEC PRAHA in Prague, Dublin Dance Festival, the Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Moscow, the Athens Festival at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on the Acropolis, the Lyon Biennale de la Danse, the Adelaide Festival, and major venues in London, Berlin, Rome, Copenhagen, Melbourne, São Paulo, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Since 2011, Songs of the Wanderers has also been presented with the live accompaniment of the Rustavi Ensemble of Georgia around the world, including the Dresdner Musikfestspiele at the HELLERAU - European Center for the Arts Dresden, the Tanzsommer Innsbruck, the Istana Budaya Kuala Lumpur, and the Taiwan International Festival of Arts at the National Theater, Taipei.

About Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China. In 1973, choreographer Lin Hwai-min adopted this classical name for the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese speaking community.

Its 24 dancers receive trainings of meditation, Qi Gong, an ancient form of breathing exercise, internal martial arts, modern dance, ballet, and calligraphy. Through Lin Hwai-min's choreographies the company transforms ancient aesthetics into thrilling modern celebration of motion. Cloud Gate dancers make stillness as eloquent as animation.

Cloud Gate has toured extensively with frequent engagements at the Next Wave Festival in New York, the Sadler's Wells Theatre and Barbican Centre in London, the Moscow Chekhov International Theatre Festival, and the Internationales Tanzfest NRW directed by Pina Bausch.

In 2003, Cloud Gate opened the Melbourne International Arts Festival with Cursive II (now known as Pine Smoke), winning both the Age Critics' Award and the Patrons' Award; while Moon Water was named the best dance of the year by The New York Times. In 2006, Cursive: A Trilogy was chosen as the best dance choreography of the year as a result of critics' poll by Ballet-Tanz and Theater Heute.

At home, Cloud Gate also enjoys high acclaim and popularity. In addition to the regular seasons in theatres, the company stages annual free outdoor performances in various cities in Taiwan, drawing audiences of up to 60,000 per performance.

To perform for grass-roots communities, and to foster young choreographers in Taiwan, Cloud Gate 2 was founded in 1999. In 1998, Cloud Gate Dance School was founded to bring the joy of dance to students, aged 4 to 84.

In 2003, in recognition of Cloud Gate's contribution to the cultural life of Taipei, the Taipei City Government named Fu-Hsing North Road Lane 231, home of Cloud Gate's office, as "Cloud Gate Lane." In 2010, a new asteroid, discovered by National Central University, Taiwan, was named after Cloud Gate.

Most of Cloud Gate's productions have been made into videos. Among them, Songs of the Wanderers,Moon Water, Bamboo Dream, and Cursive II (now known as Pine Smoke) were filmed in Europe.

About Lin Hwai-min

Honouring Lin Hwai-min with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, the jury of the International Movimentos Dance Prize, Germany, hailed him as "a foremost innovator of dance" and said that "Lin Hwai-min ranks amongst artists of the century such as William Forsythe, George Balanchine, Birgit Cullberg...."

In July 2013, Lin followed in the footsteps of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch to receive the prestigious Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Festival announcement stated that: "Mr. Lin's fearless zeal for the art form has established him as one of the most dynamic and innovative choreographers today...his choreographic brilliance continues to push boundaries and redefine the art form." He is the first recipient of this award who is based in Asia. Invited by the International Theatre Institute, Lin served as the author for the 2013 International Dance Day Message.

In his homeland, Taiwan, Lin Hwai-min was first known as a critically acclaimed writer. In 1969, at the age of 22 and with two books of fiction published, he went to study in the States and obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa. He also studied modern dance at the University and in New York.

Lin Hwai-min founded Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan in 1973, the Dance Department at the Taipei National University of the Arts in 1983, and Cloud Gate 2 in 1999. Heralded as "the most important choreographer in Asia," Lin often draws his inspiration from traditional Asian culture and aesthetics to create original works with contemporary resonance, which have made Dance Europe acclaim: "No company in the world dances like Cloud Gate. It presents a distinct and mature Chinese choreographic language. The importance of this evolution in Asian dance is no less profound than the impact of Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt on European classical ballet."

Among the honours Lin Hwai-min has received are honorary doctorates from six universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Taiwan National Award for Arts, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award, the award for 'Best Choreographer' at the Lyon Biennial Dance Festival, "Distinguished Artist Award" presented by International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), and the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture. In 2005, he was honored by Time Magazine as one of the "Asia's Heroes." In 2013, he was awarded by President Ma Ying Jeou with the First Rank Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon. He is the second artist, after film director Ang Lee, to have been bestowed the highest honor from the government of Taiwan.

Lin Hwai-min has been the subject of full-length television documentaries, including Portraits Taiwan: Lin Hwai-min (Discovery Channel), Floating on the Ground (Opus Arte), and Lin Hwai-Min - Interface Between Worlds (ARTE/ZDF). Since 2000, he has served as the Artistic Director of "Novel Dance Series" for the Novel Hall for Performing Arts, Taipei introducing contemporary dance to audience in Taiwan. Choreographers featured in the series include Eiko and Koma, Meredith Monk, Susanne Linke, Akram Kahn, Ea Sola, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Jerome Bel.

About UW World Series

The UW World Series is one of Seattle's leading performing arts organizations, presenting innovative, provocative, and diverse international artists in music, theater, and dance. More than 450 visiting artists from around the world have performed as part of the UWWS. The eclectic mix of programming has given Northwest audiences a broad view of the world of performing arts, from sampling unique cultural traditions to experiencing innovative new works that expand the scope and direction of contemporary performing arts. The UW World Series' mission includes supporting the educational goals of the University of Washington by providing extensive arts learning opportunities for UW students and faculty, area school children and teachers, and members of the community at large.

Tickets, Meany Hall, and More Information

Purchase tickets: Call 206-543-4880, or order online at Tickets may also be purchased in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office, located at 1313 NE 41st. Or fax your order to the Ticket Office at 206-685-4141. Tickets are subject to availability. Artists, dates, programs, and prices are subject to change.

Discounts: Discounts are available for students, seniors (65+), UW Alumni Association members, and UW employees. UW student tickets start at $10. Seating restrictions may apply. Tickets are subject to availability.

Location and parking: Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington, on 15th Avenue NE between NE 40th and 41st Streets. Parking for Meany Hall is available in the Central Parking Garage (entrance at 15th Avenue and 41st Street). On-street metered parking is also available.

Accessibility: The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at

Disability seating with up to three companion seats per disability space is available for all UWWS events. Reservations for disability seating must be made at the time of purchase. Please contact the UW Arts Ticket Office at 206-543-4880 for specific seating options and availability.

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by Barnett Serchuk