Friday, October 16, 2009

Cloud Gate Theatre Wind Shadow

Last week I went to see the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, their website here at the Barbican. I had heard their director speak at the conference of Buddhist Arts at the V&A and he had shown clips of their performances.Im was impressed by their work and looked to see if they were coming to Britain.

This performance,Wind Shadow was a rather darker production than those he had showed us, but impressive. The choreography was by Lin Hwai-Min, good article about him here with dancers as light and shadows in monochrome colours.

At first their was one kite hanging and blowing in the wind, then dancers appeared some with shadow dancers seemingly attached to their ankles some waving large flags and some dancers appeared to have wings.
Slowly it seemed as though there were more and more of the rather ominous shadow dancers taking over the stage and the artist Cai Guo-Qiang's, (visual director for the Beijing Olympics) gunpowder drawings were projected behind and captured on fabric by the dancers.
There were some deafening explosions and lasers near the finale as the dancers were caught in smoke, as were we near the front of the stage, it was as if we were caught up in a battle ground with torrents of black pieces of paper, like ash also showered down on the dancers and blew across the audience at the front. The dancers moved into a huddle seemingly caught up in a final catastrophe a tunnel of smoke and ash lit up by erie green lasers. Good review of the performance here

So we left rather somberly after the performance and it's vision of a type of hell. Really great dancing and staging and I think perhaps the first overtly political work from Cloud Gate.
Another good review here

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