Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) dance professor and choreographer Ho Hsiao-mei (何曉玫) believes in giving young Taiwanese choreographers and dancers a chance to show their talent, and so for a second year her Meimage Dance (玫舞擊) company is hosting a new choreographer project.
Entitled 2012 Collecting Button: New Choreographer (2012 鈕扣 New Choreographer計劃), the show at the 6F Performance Hall of Eslite bookstore’s Xinyi Store presents the work of four dancer-choreographers: Lin Li-chuan (林立川) , Chen Yun-ru (陳韻如), Luo Wei-chun (羅瑋君) and Chang Yi-chun (張逸軍).
The Taipei Times caught up with Ho, who was extra busy this week between classes, administrative duties and producing the show, to ask about the four and their works.
Three of the four are graduates of TNUA’s dance program — though Ho says she’s not biased in favor of the school’s grads — while the fourth, Lin, graduated from the dance program at Purchase College, State University of New York. All four have spent time traveling, studying and working outside of Taiwan.
“Four dancers, all born in Taiwan, but right now you can tell they think in a different way through their body language; they are Taiwanese, but the way they chose to move is different. I thought it was important to share this with audiences in Taiwan,” Ho said.
Chen, who impressed audiences in last year’s choreographer’s show with Playback, has been choreographing in Dessau, Germany, where she dances with the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau (she was also the star of Meimage’s debut piece Woo! Barbie). Her piece in this year’s show is a duet titled “Breathing” (呼吸).
“Yun-ru said that you never notice your breathing. She was interested in [whether or not] you can start from that point and have a movement,” Ho said. “She talked about how when her grandfather was very sick in the hospital and couldn’t breathe well, she wanted to breathe for him.”
WHAT: 2012 Collecting Button: New Choreographer
WHEN: Tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm, tomorrow and Sunday at 2:30pm
WHERE: 6F Performance Hall, Eslite Xinyi Store (誠品信義店6F展演廳), 6F, 11 Songgao Rd, Taipei City (台北市松高路11號6樓)
ADMISSION: NT$650, available at NTCH box offices or online at www.artsticket.com.tw. Tonight is already sold out and there are a few tickets left for the other shows
The piece has come out great, Ho said.
Lin, who trained as a classical ballet dancer and worked as a dancer in the US after graduating from Purchase, has titled his duet under frame.
“He’s kind of trying to break through with his own body,” Ho said. “Trying to find a new language of his own … But there is a lot of ballet technique in the piece,” she said.
Luo, who has worked with the Henri Oguike Dance Company, a contemporary troupe in the UK, calls her solo “Forward” (前行). Ho says it is a self-portrait about breaking free from restrictions, from rules.
“[Luo] feels like she was always a good girl until after she graduated from TNUA, when she was trying to get a job in another country, to put herself into a different world. Suddenly everyone was asking her ‘What do you think about this, about that’ and she realized she never thought about things, she just followed the rules,” Ho said. “In the piece, she’s tied from the wrists with elastic ropes, kind of looks like a puppy, but she has to break out.”
Chang, who has worked as soloist with the Cirque du Soleil, has titled his piece “The Round Sky” (天圓地方).
Ho has known Chang for many years, ever since he was a student at the high school affiliated with TNUA and says she was always attracted by his performance quality, which was very flashy.
“It’s so hard to change him, even when he wants to learn, he still goes his own way,” she said. “He wanted to make his own piece, a solo, with media, big props, to fly in the air.”