Dance magic in the air

by Nobuko Tanaka

Famed at home in Taiwan, and increasingly hailed in Western and other Asian countries, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre wafted ethereally through Tokyo at the end of last month for just four breathtakingly beautiful stagings at Shinjuku Culture Center.

Founded in 1973 by its current artistic director, Lin Hwai-Min, 56, the company now has a roster of some 70 works. From this, Tokyo audiences were treated to “Cursive” (center, right) and “Moon Water” (top and bottom); the former an astonishing expression of flowing Chinese characters in human form, the latter of winter giving way to spring in and around a large pool on stage.

In both, however — performed to Chinese traditional music and a Bach cello sonata, respectively — it was the dancers’ exquisite combinations of tension and suppleness, speed, sensitivity and grace that will remain in the minds of all there to see.

Lauded for its originality by that maestro of contemporary dance, Pina Bausch, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre is a completely new experience to be sought out wherever and whenever you can.