Cloud gate dance theatre of taiwan



November - December 2020


Dancers/Performers: 24
Artistic/Administrative Staff: 6
Production/Technical: 7


Heralded as “the most important choreographer in Asia,” and honored in 2013 with the prestigious Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, Lin Hwai-min often draws his initial inspiration from traditional Asian culture and aesthetics, but he doesn’t stop there.

With dancers trained in meditation, Qigong, internal martial arts, modern dance and ballet, his Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan transforms the ancient aesthetics into thrilling modern celebrations of motion. Dance Europe exclaims: “No company in the world dances like Cloud Gate. It presents a distinct and mature Chinese choreographic language. The importance of this evolution in Asian dance is no less profound than the impact of Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt on European classical ballet.”

Lin Hwai-min who has been Cloud Gate’s Artistic Director since founding the company in 1973 will retire from his current position at the end of 2019.  Cheng Tsung-Lung, who has been Artistic Director of Cloud Gate 2 will succeed him. Mr. Lin’s choreographic works will remain in the company’s repertory.



13 Tongues

CHENG Tsung-Lung has always been fascinated by his mother’s stories about Thirteen Tongues, a 1960s street artist. This legendary story-teller was said to be able to portray multiple roles of people from all walks of in Bangka, the oldest district in Taipei city, rich with temples, religious rites, and festive parades.

In 13 Tongues, CHENG transforms his childhood memory of the Taoist rites and bustling street life of Bangka into a fantasy world. The metallic sound of a hand bell unfolds the soundscape that fuses Taiwanese folk songs, Japanese nakashi tunes and electronic music. Against a bizarre projection reminiscent of colors of temples, dancers move in grounded positions, traveling in serpentine patterns. They chant mysterious mantras, stomp, stagger and tremble like enchanted shamans, until the light dims down and glaring fluorescent patterns on their costumes flow through the space, as if thousands of wandering spirits from the old Bangka were evoked. A Goddess floats up and flies over the head of black-clad celebrants. A koi fish appears in the projection, wiggling its tail, and disappears into nowhere.


Grieved by the plight of refugees and displaced communities of the 21st century, Lin Hwai-min choreographed to Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8. Calling the work Dust, he seems to imply that, in face of cruelty, human beings are fragile and insignificant like drifting dust.

Smoke whirls in the air. Dancers clad in black and dark brown costumes, stagger and crawl, making brief appearances out of the smoke in the dim lighting. Against projections of desolate images of strong colors, they collapse and struggle to stand up. Once and again, they cluster in lines or in groups for protection, only to be broken down. Towards the end, they hang themselves in a standing position, with their mouths opening and closing like fish out of water. Smoke slowly swallows them up.



Complete Technical Rider upon Request