Feast of performing art unfolds
By Tang Hsiang-yi and Lily Hsueh, The China PostAs we slowly recover from excessive eating, drinking, sleeping or gambling during the Chinese New Year holiday, the Taiwan International Festival of Arts (TIFA, 台灣國際藝術節) already began with Barak Marshall Dance Theatre's “Rooster” last weekend.
February 22, 2013, 6:27 pm TWN
Coming up this week are Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's “Songs of the Wanderers” (流浪者之歌), Compañía de Teatro La Mona Ilustre's “Los Peces No Vuelan” (Fishes Don't Fly), Vincent Peirani and François Salque's “Accordion & Cello Duet” and Salamandrum Percussion Duo and National Symphony Orchestra's “Voyages,” beautiful selections that will gradually awaken our spirits with a feast of performing art.
Finally on Stage Together
Cloud Gate's longtime favorite “Songs of the Wanderers” features live performance by Ensemble Rustavi of Georgia, the songs of which have been presented with the dance since its premiere in 1994. However, the two troupes never performed on the same stage before the 2011 Dresden Music Festival.
“This piece premiered in 1994. We didn't know what we were doing — we just made it. Until now, 'Songs' has traveled around the world to give nearly 200 performances over the past 19 years. What's so amazing about it is this perfect union with Georgian folk songs,” said Cloud Gate's founder and artistic director Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) earlier this week in Taipei.
“We are thrilled to bring the ensemble to Taiwan, to the same stage where 'Songs' was shown for the first time,” he added. After the Dresden show, the two troupes were invited to perform together in Austria and Malaysia, before coming back to Taiwan.
Speaking of major differences between playing the songs from a CD and having the ensemble singing on stage, Lin pointed out that as perfect as the sound can be adjusted, CDs don't “breathe.”
“We are happy to get to know another culture and make new friends. Before I choreographed 'Songs, ' I didn't know where exactly Georgia was. This time we even put a map in our program book to introduce the country and its culture,” said Lin.
Georgian folk songs are characterized by polyphonic singing, taking a wide variety of forms and regional varieties. According to Ensemble Rustavi of Georgia's founder and artistic director, Anzor Erkomaishvili, the songs talk about events of daily life. There are work songs, laments, lullabies, songs about historical events or figures, ritual songs and healing songs, just to name a few.
The lyrics of the folk songs don't really have a direct relation with the dance, which is about spiritual pilgrimage inspired by Lin's travels in India and Hermann Hesse's novel “Siddhartha.”