wild calligraphy

Last night we saw the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan perform at His Majesty’s Theatre as part of The UWA Perth International Arts Festival. We already knew that driving into the city and parking would be fraught with delays and frustration due to the development of the William Street Underground Platforms. So we caught the bus.

Kuang Chao (‘wild calligraphy’) was the inspiration for Wild Cursive (Cursive III), the conclusion of the Cursive trilogy.

The dance was equisitely executed. The smooth almost fluid movements changed in a heartbeat to angular and hard stances, and sharp tight movements.

From the programme (PDF) I read that the dancers study Tai Chi, meditation, martial arts, Chincese opera movement, modern dance and ballet.

The set could almost be considered an art installation in its self. Drops of white paper (I later found out was rice paper) were lowered and raised at different times and to different heights. Black ink seeped slowly down the paper during the performance creating different patterns, perhaps based on the construction of the paper. The dancers sometimes used these as a backdrop, part of the dance with the movements being back-lit on the paper as dancers moved behind them, or moving behind and around.

The dancers were accompanied by a scoundscape of wind, a sea breaking, foghorns, dripping water, rain, bells, and insects at night. Not all at once though 🙂 The stamps, slaps, and breaths of the dancers were also very much part of the dance.

I can’t remember which sound went with what movement, but I liked best the slow rippling of the dancers bodies and arms. I enjoyed too the sound of the wind and watching the dancers furl and unfurl like leaves.

Also, like ‘silence’ is considered to be beats of music, this dance company demonstrates that ‘still’ is movement.

They certainly earned an appreciative audience in Perth from what I saw.

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