Thursday, May 13, 2010

Summer is here and it is a beautiful season for young love, says choreographer Lin Wen-chung

By Nancy T. Lu

Summer is here and it is a season for love. So live love. But be prepared for both the magic and the pain. The lyrics and melodies of music selected for the new dance choreography called “Small Songs” say it all. The interpretative dance itself, however, expresses everything even more eloquently. Dance moves sometimes go abstract though. Expect fireworks (worth NT$2,000 at each performance).

If you are young, you will easily relate to the love expressed through body language in “Small Songs.” If you are not so young anymore, you will feel young and ready for romance once more. Or, you will simply fall into nostalgic and beautiful reminiscences of love many summers ago.

Choreographer Lin Wen-chung of WC Dance Company is sharing his own love-related experiences and making a statement virtually denying that love is a folly of the young through the dance concert, “Small Songs.”

The 35-year-old Lin danced for seven years with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in the United States before he decided to return to Taiwan to start his own modern dance company. He steps into the limelight in at least two segments to show his refined and beautiful style and form. Emotions are poured out with amazing grace.

The body language of six dancers, including Lin himself, says it all. Love can be about couples. Menage a trois – three’s company – that, too, is possible. Moments range from giddy to bewitching. The young company dancers show affection in saccharine detail, sometimes suggesting the conduct of loving canine pets. Contact improvisation puts everything to work gracefully and smoothly on the stage.

Fights happen. Are those suggestions of karate moves? So the pairs of dancers break up, resulting in partners avoiding each other. But such is life even among those once sworn to love each other without fear of death or sacrifice as articulated in the familiar song from the box office hit Taiwanese movie, “Cape No. 7.”

A Spanish song reaches out and zeroes in on the passion of love. But love can be the tongue-tied kind sometimes, according to Lin. The choreographer taps Kun opera music as well as an operatic aria to emote love in different ways in his dance creation. Even classical music finds a place in the choreography, which sometimes calls to mind a ballet presentation. Dance moves bring in techniques from East and West. Variety spices up the performance in the intimate Wenshan Theater.

The love story also has a chapter about heartbreak. The French song about lost love inspires the choreography showing two persons going their separate ways. The need to embark on a solo flight emerges in one segment. A solo dance finds the lonely heart turning inward. The Taipei-based Lin himself carries on a long-distance love relationship with his wife, who lives and works in Hong Kong.

The Chinese title of the choreography translates to literally mean “love songs.” As Lin put it, “I have always been very fond of love songs. However, I have tried to be more abstract in my choreography when the lyrics of the songs are explicit in meaning. Through the use of love songs, I hope to draw the public in Taiwan closer to modern dance.”

“Small Songs” – which was originally commissioned by the National Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center in Taipei last year– is about sexuality and the city (it can be Taipei, Taichung or Kaohsiung) as told in seven segments. The dancers are dressed in black and white although in changing combinations throughout the choreography. They move with precision mostly on a square platform, making it look like a marital bed sometimes.

The stage backdrop resembles a huge mirror, which captures surreal images of the dancers throughout the performance.

“Small Songs” featuring the WC Dance Company will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on May 14 and 15 as well as at 2:30 p.m. on May 15 and 16 at the Wenshan Theater in Taipei; at 7:30 p.m. on June 2 at the Zhongxing Hall in Taichung; as well as at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on June 12 at the Zuoying Senior High School Dance Theater in Kaohsiung. For inquiries, call tel. (02)2533-9875. Or send email to

Wenshan Theater at 32 Jingwen Street in Taipei can be reached by taking the MRTS Tamshui-Xindian Line. Get off at Jingmei Station along Roosevelt Road and head for Exit No. 1. The Wenshan Theater is to the left immediately next door.

The picture above was taken by Nancy T. Lu.

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