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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 Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's production, Send in a Cloud, is scheduled to be staged at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing from Dec 7-10. LEE CHIA-YEH/FOR CHINA DAILY

In a unique approach, production draws extensively from the personal experiences of the performers, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

Each individual's state of mind is much like the clouds, says Cheng Tsunglung, a choreographer and the artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre.

At times, a single one drifts across a clear sky, peaceful and carefree, and on other occasions, dense dark clouds accumulate, setting the scene for an imminent downpour.

With the company's production Send in a Cloud, scheduled to grace the stage of National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing from Dec 7-10, Cheng hopes that this work will bring clouds with a silver lining that will radiate through the audience.

When Cheng first started working on creating this production in 2021, the dancers faced the challenge of being unable to gather in a rehearsal room because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to prevent any decline in the dancers' physical skills, Cheng decided to conduct training and rehearsal sessions via video conferencing, an approach they had never adopted before.

"On the first day of our rehearsal, 26 dancers appeared on my computer screen. Each video tile is a small window into an individual room, an individual dancer. I could see the colors of these rooms and their different styles of homewear," Cheng says.

He then thought of asking the dancers to tell their stories from their own rooms, be they pleasant memories or moments of solitude, and present them in the form of a dance.

"In the past, it was usually me, the creator, who exercised my imagination without inhibition, but this time, I shared this experience with all the dancers," he says.

Originally, the show was conceived with 26 stories, however, due to time constraints, the number was halved, and 13 stories are presented, meaning that there are two different versions of the same production.

While one version has been staged in Taiwan, this Chinese mainland tour, to the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing in Jiangsu province, Guangzhou in Guangdong province, and Beijing, presents a brand-new iteration of the dance, featuring the other 13 stories.

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