About the Company
According to legend, Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China, a ritual dance of some 5,000 years ago. Artistic Director Lin Hwai-min adopted this name in 1973 for the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese speaking community: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. Known for its ability to synthesize art forms, including Western, modern and Asian dance, Cloud Gate has a repertoire rich with exquisitely liquid movement. It includes the CursiveTrilogy, Moon Water, and Songs of the Wanderers to name just a few. Cloud Gate has traveled extensively throughout the world, including five continents, winning both the Patrons’ Choice Award and the Age Critics’ Award in 2003. Back in Taiwan, Cloud Gate has the honor of being the first living artist or artistic group to have a day and place named after it.
Performances at Northrop
Wild Cursive/The Final Chapter of Cursive: A Trilogy
This final installment in the Cursive Trilogy explores a new avenue of using Tai Chi Tao Yin, martial arts and dance. Chinese believe that there are five shades of black ink. Where Cursiveemphasizes darker blacks with vigorous attacks, and Cursive II explores the lighter shades in a meditative mood, Wild Cursive hopes to set free the dancers from any form, to expose the spiritual state in its expressive abstraction. Wild Cursive is based on ideas from Kuang Chao, “wild calligraphy,” which is considered the pinnacle in Chinese cursive aesthetics. Using only large rice paper sheets and black ink as the set, Lin Hwai-min is able to greater draw your attention to the dancers and their connection to the ink flowing resembling the writing of Chinese calligraphy.
Chinese calligraphy is regarded as a high art form by the Chinese people. Having a history of over 3,000 years in China, it reached its peak in the Ming-Qing Period (1368-1911). “Cursive script is characterized by great freedom in brushwork, character construction, application of ink and composition. It is distinguished from other scripts by its vivid rhythms, flowing movement and powerful sense of momentum,” says Yiguo Zhang of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) inBoston. This type of writing was introduced in 221-206 BC and the classical style was perfected by Wang Xizhi. Later, Zhang Xu broke away and developed a “wild” cursive based on emotion, spontaneity, and, at times, chaos.
Lin Hwai-min: Founder and Artistic Director
Lin Hwai Min is an internationally renowned choreographer who often draws from traditional Asian culture for inspiration and material. The Cursive Trilogy is a great example of this. His works have been restaged by dance companies and universities all around the United States andEurope. In 2000, Lin was featured as the “Choreographer of the 20th Century” by Dance Europe, and celebrated by Time magazine as one of the “Asia’s Heroes” in 2005. As an acclaimed writer, Lin has written a best seller in Taiwan, and several of his short stories have been translated into English and published in the United States. Since year 2000, Lin has also been serving as the Artistic Director of “Novel Hall New Dance Series,” where he introduces internationally renowned avant-garde groups of artists.
Music—Jim Shum and Liang Chun-mei
"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 ." –Dance Europe
"Fascinating . . . combining modern dance techniques with traditional Peking opera movement . . . igniting a unique new culture." –Time Magazine
"The audience was moved to tears and celebrated the company with rousing ovations." –Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung
"Lin Hwai-min's Cloud Gate Dance Theatre is the most important dance company in the Chinese cultural circle." –Ming Pao Daily News, Hong Kong