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Send in a Cloud gives dance a new horizon

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-30 07:59

The design of the projected background is based on drawings made by the dancers. LEE CHIA-YEH/FOR CHINA DAILY

One of the dancers, for example, drew a few clouds on the paper, and a single cloud was chosen and amplified, so that, in the production, the dancer gives a solo dance against a backdrop of this singular cloud.

"To my surprise, the designed images turned out to be beautiful and genuine, with a sort of childlike whimsy and unaffected purity," Cheng says.

The music of the production features Bach's Six Solo Cello Suites, arranged by Japanese composer and saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu, with the sound design by Grammy Award-winning artist Marcelo Anez.

"The music is very special. Instead of being performed on the cello, it is played by four saxophones. So it is produced by human breath. This kind of airflow seems to better embody the changes in one's emotional states," he adds.

Founded by veteran choreographer Lin Hwai-min in Taiwan in 1973 and named after the oldest known dance in China, Cloud Gate celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In 2020, Cheng succeeded Lin as the new artistic director.

For Cheng, the biggest change since he took over the role of artistic director is the absence of a personal life. Over the past three years, he has been constantly working on new productions, staging three so far.

"I actually find this quite satisfying, to not overthink and just keep on creating, and then go around sharing dance with everyone," he says.

He says that for Cloud Gate, the most important thing is to sustain diverse kinds of energies and to allow everyone to encounter dance in their lives or see dance in theaters.

Cloud Gate dancers receive daily training in ballet, modern dance, tai chi and martial arts and, three years ago, Cheng added classes in street dance into their routine.

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