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A life of silver linings

By Chen Jie | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-15 07:45

Lin Hwai-min, Taiwan choreographer. [PHOTO BY JIANG DONG/CHINA DAILY]

During a trip to southern Taiwan, he passed the Liwuxi River and was so impressed by the shimmering beauty of the water that he took a photograph of it. The black and white print of it inspired him to choreograph the dance piece White Water, which features dancers in white costumes conveying the movement of the ripples on the water's surface.

Dust was inspired by Shostakovich's String Quartet No 8 in C minor. Lin says when he heard the piece of music many years ago, he was so "terrified" by its power that "his whole body shrank". He had not thought about choreographing the work until he visited Dresden, where Shostakovich composed the work in 1960, and dedicated it to the victims of fascism and war.

In February 1945, when Allies British and United States dropped high-explosive bombs on Dresden, an estimated 25,000 people were killed and the city center, an acclaimed European cultural landmark, was almost entirely destroyed. Although both British and American military officials defended the bombing as necessary, the air raid is still regarded as one of the most controversial events of the war.

"These days, the world is suffering from even more disasters. People feel helpless. The Diamond Sutra (Buddhist text) mentions 'particles of dust', and in face of such cruelty, humans are as fragile and insignificant as dust," says Lin.

Born in 1947 in Taiwan's Chiayi county, Lin's initial passion for dance was awakened at the age of 5, when he saw the British film The Red Shoes. He was so impressed by the ballet sequences in the movie that he started performing them for his family. But he also showed great interest in reading and writing and published his first novel at the age of 14, and continued to enjoy fame as a writer in Taiwan in the 1960s and 1970s.

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