"No flogging, no pandering either," remarked Cloud Gate Dance Theatre patriarch Lin Hwai-min at the Dresden debut of the dance troupe's latest production "Formosa" on May 25.
"Formosa" tells the long history of Taiwan proper through a beautiful combination of visual design, literature, imagery, music, and physical movement. Lin presents both "violence" and "hope" to address the passage of time while allowing for enough ambiguity so viewers can arrive at their own conclusions.
Shieh Jhy-wey, Taiwan's representative to Germany, noted that islands by definition are isolated, and they are fated to cross barriers in order to make their presence known. The exemplary art of Lin is an illuminating example of such efforts to bring Taiwan to world attention, he added.
Calling Dresden "as familiar as home," Lin explained that it was Cloud Gate's fourth appearance at HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts, and its 27th performance in Germany as a whole.
He went on to thank the dancers, who only flew in the day before the performance, and the stage technicians who lost 10 hours of work time due to the untimely closure of Dresden Airport. "But we made it, thanks to all of you."
Dr. Dieter Jaenicke, director of HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts, called Lin's plans to retire in 2019 "a loss for the dance scene of Taiwan and the world," but said he looks forward to promote cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Germany next year in his new capacity as director of internationale tanzmesse nrw, a biennial contemporary dance festival based in Dusseldorf.
Narrated by writer Chiang Hsun, "Formosa" is accompanied by music from indigenous Beinan singer Sangpuy, costume design by London-based Taiwanese fashion designer Apu Jan, and interactive media by visual communications designer Chou Tung-yen.
After the May 25 – 26 showcase in Dresden, Cloud Gate will wrap up their European tour with showings of "Formosa" in France and Portugal.