Dancers from Taiwan enthralled an audience of more than 2,000 people at Grec Theatre in Barcelona on Tuesday with the flowing movements of one of their classic productions to the music of late American musician John Cage.
The Cloud Gate Dance Theatre performed "Pine Smoke (??)" on the nearly 90-year-old open-air stage, with natural rocks serving as the background rather than the usual projected close-ups of crackled traces of porcelain used for indoor performances.
A work of delicate lyricism that premiered in 2003, "Pine Smoke" is the second installment of the "Cursive Trilogy (?????)" series choreographed by Cloud Gate founder and artistic director Lin Hwai-min (???).
The series represented Lin's exploration of Chinese calligraphy, and "Pine Smoke" celebrates the elegance of calligraphy and the power of emptiness, with dancers trained to move as lightly as smoke and yet as powerfully as an abrupt stop of a calligraphic stroke.
The natural rocks gave a special feel to the show in Barcelona, Lin said.
"This is where Pine Smoke should be staged," said Lin when asked why he decided to stage the show at the Grec Theatre in the annual Grec Festival de Barcelona this year.
Though the show was a rare opportunity for Cloud Gate to perform on an open-air stage overseas, there were certain challenges that had to be overcome.
During the rehearsal on Monday and the main performance Tuesday, dancers were at times tripped up by trouser legs blown loose by the wind, but they managed to overcome the disruptions with tremendous balance and coordination.
Also, dancers had to endure pain and itchiness after being bitten by insects from nearby urban forests that were drawn by stage lights. One of the dancers was stung by a bee on the bottom of a foot during the rehearsal, but was treated in time for Tuesday's show.
The uninvited visitors made it particularly tough on the dancers when they had to be motionless on stage during the formal show Tuesday night.
Cloud Gate had previously appeared at the festival on two occasions, performing "Moon Water (??)" in 2007 and "Wild Cursive (??)" -- the third installment of Cursive Trilogy -- in 2010, but those shows were held indoors because of technical requirements.
Even with the challenges, Cloud Gate was praised by Francesc Casadesus, director of the Grec Festival, as a special troupe in the world's dancing sector. Its dancing technique and choreography are unique, and Lin's works "always touch the hearts of people," he said.
The world-acclaimed dance troupe will perform "Pine Smoke" for the last time at the Barcelona summer festival Friday night before departing for Taiwan the following day.
On Thursday, Cloud Gate had a rather different performance -- teaching Taichi Dao Yin (????) at Fundacio Joan Miro.
Dao Yin, meaning guiding and stretching in Chinese, is a series of physical exercises practiced to cultivate the inner energy of the body and introduced by Cloud Gate's Lin in dance practice.
With 40 people who signed up in advance for the lecture as her students, Cloud Gate's associate artistic director Lee Ching-chun (???) taught them Taichi-style breathing and slow body movements, including spinning and twisting.
The lecture was given in an atmosphere of tranquility and concentration in a space decorated by paintings by imaginative Spanish artist Miro.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel