Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan to Return to Chicago With SONGS OF THE WANDERERS, 3/14-16
Asia's leading contemporary dance company Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan returns to Chicago with Songs of the Wanderers, co-presented by The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and The Joffrey Ballet. Performances are March 14 at 7:30 p.m. and 16 at 3 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago.
"Chicago has an international reputation as a place for cultural collaboration and innovation," said Jim McDonough, executive director of Alphawood Foundation. "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 be a part of the partnership of three of Chicago's most important cultural institutions-The Dance Center, the Auditorium and The Joffrey-to present them again."
A masterpiece of imagination and timeless inner tranquility, Founder/Artistic Director Lin Hwai-min's Songs of the Wanderers was inspired by the wealth of religious practices throughout Asia and Herman Hesse's account of Siddhartha's quest for enlightenment. A visually stunning paean to spiritual pilgrimage, the piece transforms ancient rites into mesmerizing dance theatre. The blend of Eastern and Western dance styles result in startlingly beautiful images, with absolute focus and control by the performers, all set to soulful Georgian folk songs. The scenic design includes an astonishing three and a half tons of shimmering golden grains of rice that shower down on the stage throughout the piece.
"Cloud Gate has made five tours to Chicago, three presented by The Dance Center and two by the Auditorium Theatre Council," said Lin Hwai-min. "Among many cities we have visited around the world, Chicago is remembered as one of many friends."
As part of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan's residency, a post-performance conversation with the artists takes place March 16, and a senior member of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will participate in The Dance Center's DanceMakers series, which features leading contemporary dance artists offering insight into their choreographic process, on Monday, March 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. In celebration of The Dance Center's 40th season, DanceMakers sessions are free. Preregistration is required by visiting colum.edu/dancecenter/performances/dancemakers.
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 24 dancers of the company receive training from the West and the East, including Tai Chi Tao Yin (an ancient form of Chi Kung), meditation, martial arts, modern dance, ballet and calligraphy. With frequent appearances at international arts festivals, including the Next Wave Festival, Cloud Gate has received high acclaim throughout the world.