Being from a country with a supposed advanced level of dance training (what with 3 major ballet companies, one established since 1970), I’ve heard much of Cloudgate Dance Theater in Taiwan and marveled at the idea that even taxi drivers were fans of the dance group. I missed their performance in Manila a few years ago, and now that I’m spending the weekend in Taipei, it seemed only right that I scrape together the little money that I brought with me to watch them.
Their production was entitled Rice, and showed the parallel between life and the rice cycle – preparing the land, planting (this very intimate pas de deux that was a bit uncomfortable for me to watch, but I guess I’m just a prude like that), growth, harvest and destroying the land – at least, I think that’s what that was, then preparing the land once more. I liked it, though, coupled with getting only 5 hours of sleep the night before, there were parts that I found too linear, and couldn’t help but find myself nodding off once or twice. Most of the dancing was quite lush and gorgeous though, and the dancers really good at what they do. My favorites were the pas de six that symbolized growth, and the first half of the male ensemble that symbolized death.
While watching, I realized I was not watching with the eye of a critic, which is what I’ve done for most of my life, which is what I’ve made a career out of the last decade. I was watching as a dancer, appreciative of the technique and skill and wondering how nice it would be to dance this work. I think I’m going to have a hard time retiring someday soon.
Me at the 4th level balcony at the National Theater of Taiwan