Combating silence with self-expression
“I remember being petrified by sound,” said Ho Hsiao-mei (何曉玫), choreographer, former Cloud Gate dancer, and disciple of arguably Taiwan’s two most famous dance artists – Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) and Lo Man-fei (羅曼菲).
Ho pinpoints one particular emotion as the foundation for her lifelong tryst with dance – loneliness. Childhood at an old Japanese-style home in Yilan County with several boisterous brothers shaped an imaginative but isolated child who froze when the wooden floors visibly protested or when the restroom flushed with unnecessary loudness. In this muffled mansion of her recollections, Ho projected intent, character onto the wall-scaling geckos that defied gravity.
Ironically, it was her brash elder brother who suggested that Ho take up dance classes at Lan Yang Youth Catholic Center (蘭陽青年會). He had his eyes on one of the pretty dance instructors. She had her eyes opened to a world outside of the silent mansion. From second grade and on, she joined other young dancers at the community center, stepping, shoving, and squealing in a manner that would never have been accepted at home.
Life’s second unexpected twist became apparent when Ho decided to follow her instructor’s advice and pursue post-university studies in New York. Lin, the patriarch of Cloud Gate, was certain that the girl who improvised “peculiar” dances would blossom on world stage. In actuality, that was the moment when Lin decided to “retreat” into choreography.
Dancing under Lin was too hard, she said. “I wanted to be enveloped by emotions.” She learned to thread the tendrils of her past and present as a storyteller, ever ubiquitously studying people and society from her corner of the globe. Choreography transformed her from one who “only knows how to dance” to a masterful conversationalist through “the language of dance.”
Ho established MeimageDance Troupe in 2010 to deliver strong visual effects and dynamic body movement based on Taiwanese culture. The troupe also endeavors to cultivate dance talents and invite prominent dancers overseas to return to Taiwan for creation, performance, and exchanges … (read more)