From uphill to fantasy
By Tang Hsiang-yi, The China PostIf you look up the word “uphill” in a dictionary, you will see it is an adjective meaning arduous, ascending, exhausting or even troublesome. Taiwanese choreographer Shang-chi Sun's (孫尚綺) new work, “Uphill” (浮∙動), exhibits all of the above.
March 12, 2013, 11:52 am TWN
Through an audition held in October last year, Sun found two dancers to work with: Ross Martinson, from Wales, and David Essing, from Germany. Together, the three explore a wealth of ideas in this 60-minute, movement-intense work.
“We dance in this powerful cycle of movement, transcending ourselves with Jörg Ritzenhoff's heavy-bass, high-frequency music, which, when combined, will lead to a powerful emotional impact for the audience,” said Sun on Wednesday in Taipei. German musician Ritzenhoff is known for his innovative musical creations for theater.
“When you see us move, you, the audience, too want to move your body. The audio and visual effects will prompt you to feel so,” he added.
“Uphill,” the last part of Sun's trilogy about the relation between body, time and space is different from the first two — “Je. Sans. Paroles” (我不語) and “Traverse” (穿越) — in a number of aspects, most notably: Sun is not flying solo this time.
“I was nervous about this at first. Fortunately after the audition I found the right dancers. It is not only about how well they dance, but also about how matched we are,” he explained.
“Uphill” draws much of its pleasure from the changing dynamics of the dancers.
“The dynamic changes a lot. Each time we encounter, there's a kind of different relationship established … It can be seen as a conversation but also like a fight. It has very sharp and aggressive moments, and it can be very tender and soft,” said Essing, who received his dance training in Amsterdam.
For Martinson, the dynamic is a flowing concept. “We kind of take the dynamic from each other, so you may go against what you feel, because you are trying to connect and communicate with other dancers, maybe your state of dynamic or what you think has also changed if you take dynamics from other dancers,” he said. Martinson was trained at the Royal Ballet School in London.
The dancers blend not only various nationalities but also dance disciplines. “Ross' ballet movements, David's modern dance training and my Chinese dance, with some Tai Chi influences, fuse. How they use what they know to express what I want is the most interesting part for me,” Sun said.
'Uphill' (浮∙動) ► 7:30 p.m. March 8-10 (Fri. ~ Sun.) ► 2:30 p.m. March 9 (Sat.) / Experimental Theater (實驗劇場) / NT$800 / For more
information, visit tifa.ntch.edu.tw
Meanwhile, the Guo Guang Opera Company (國光劇團) is also presenting “Flowing Sleeves and Rouge” (水袖與胭脂), the last part of the troupe's Opera Actors Trilogy (伶人三部曲), with a twist this weekend.
The work, written by the troupe's artistic director Wang An-chi (王安祈), centers around the Liyuan (梨園), or Pear Garden in Chinese, which was constructed by Tang Dynasty Emperor Ming Huang (唐明皇, A.D. 712 — A.D. 755).
At the heart of the story is Tang Ming Huang's beloved consort Yang Guifei (楊貴妃), who is the owner of the Pear Garden. Beijing opera diva Wei Hai-min (魏海敏) vibrantly takes to this complex role.
Wang explained the play's name “Flowing Sleeves and Rouge” refers to the cosmetics and costumes that people adorn themselves with in the pursuit of expressing of a range of complex sentiments. “Flowing” mixes between the singing styles of Beijing opera and Kun opera. ■
'Flowing Sleeves and Rouge' (水袖與胭脂)/ 7:30 p.m. March 8 (Fri.) ~ March 10 (Sun.) / 2:30 p.m. March 9 (Sat.) and March 10 (Sun.) / National Theater (國家戲劇院) / NT$400~NT$2,500 / For more information, visit tifa.ntch.edu.tw