Cloud Gate 2 dances into Mandeville Auditorium

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

“Cloud Gate,” a ritual “ballet” from 5,000 years ago, is considered the oldest-known dance in Chinese history. In 1973, choreographer Lin Hwai-min created its cutting-edge descendant, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, a company that has been presenting a unique blend of ancient Asian aesthetics and contemporary Western techniques ever since.

Exuberance + discipline: The young dancers of Taiwan’s Cloud Gate 2 make their San Diego debut at UCSD Feb. 22. COURTESY

Having studied Chinese opera movement in his native Taiwan, modern dance in New York, and classical court dance in Japan and Korea, Lin Hwai-min used his own breadth of experience to create an exciting ensemble, which has won worldwide acclaim. It may be the only dance company to have an asteroid named in its honor.

This month, Cloud Gate 2, a spinoff formed in 1999 to showcase gifted young choreographers and dancers, will make its San Diego debut at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium, as part of a hot-ticket U.S. tour, starting in New York.

On the program are five very different pieces by four choreographers, each doing his thing to a very different style of music. The 24 dancers combine the exuberance of youth with the discipline of training that includes Tai Chi, martial arts, and a range of techniques drawn from Chinese Opera, modern dance and ballet.

One of the highlights of the evening is sure to be “Tantalus,” based on the tale of the Greek anti-hero who gave us the word “tantalize.” Tantalus, having angered the gods on Olympus, was condemned to an eternity of hunger and thirst in the underworld, with the fruit and water he longed for always just out of reach.

CG2 puts a new spin on the old story, giving it a touch of black humor, and turning it into a look at contemporary urban life. European reviewers called this piece, set to rapid-fire vocals by experimental composer/performance artist Meredith Monk, “impressive” and “breathtaking.”

The surreal “Passage” sounds like another winner, set to the sounds of “Lamborena: Bach to Africa,” a thrilling interplay of baroque music and Gabonese chants.

Then there is a trio of dances choreographed to wildly diverse string compositions: “Wicked Fish,” whose movements are fast-paced and fluid, and whose music is a lush, 60-string showpiece by Iannis Xenakis; the playful “Ta-Ta For Now,” which uses a Khatchaturian violin concerto to underscore an office uprising; and the architectural shapes of “The Wall,” with the techno beats, ambient noises and processed strings of New York’s Bang-on-a-Can Festival co-founder Michael Gordon. According to the composer, his piece “does with a string orchestra what a composer in 1723 would have done had he access to the technology.”

Martin Wollesen, artistic director and curator of UCSD’s ArtPower! program, has been trying for years to bring Cloud Gate 2 here.

“I’m super-excited to have them,” he said. “The main company is absolutely stunning, but they require a lot of visual production and technical support. Cloud Gate 2 is in no way a lesser company. They’re stripped-down to essentials, but the artistic vision and core training are the same. And they give us a chance to see a new generation of dancers, and a great snapshot of how young Asian choreographers who have grown up with the cross-pulse of Eastern and Western culture are shaping the future of dance.”

If you go

What: ArtPower! presents Cloud Gate 2

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22

Where: Mandeville Auditorium, UCSD

Box Office:
(858) 534-849

Website:
artpower.ucsd.edu

Related posts:

  1. Artful Beginnings
  2. Jr. Theatre holiday show has Santa tangling with some Martians at the La Jolla Firehouse
  3. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels take Parker Auditorium stage at La Jolla High School
  4. LET’S REVIEW! Theater patrons won’t forget ‘My Name Is Asher Lev’ now playing at North Coast Repertory Theatre
  5. La Jolla Playhouse announces fifth show of the season: musical ‘Finding Neverland’

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=58970

Posted by Staff on Feb 17, 2012. Filed under A & E, Theater. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Author, illustrator to launch new children’s book at Solana Beach Library August 30, 2014
    Meet author Tonton Jim and illustrator E. Felix Lyon as they launch “Harold and the Hot Rod” (Hound’s Glenn Series Book Two) at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Solana Beach Library. There will be readings from the book, illustration demonstrations, Q & A with the author, illustrator and publisher, and refreshments and door prizes. […]
  • San Dieguito Union High School District Superintendent Rick Schmitt’s Monthly Update August 30, 2014
    On behalf of our Board of Trustees, I want to welcome you and our 12,400-plus students to the 2014-15 academic year. The start of a new school year is always exciting. We have spent the summer eagerly preparing for your student’s return on Aug. 26 and look forward to sharing new learning experiences with each of you. For parents/guardians whose students are […]
  • To your health: 5 questions to ask your new doctor August 30, 2014
    At some point, nearly everyone will need to choose a new physician, perhaps because of a change in insurance, a move to a new city, or simply a feeling that it is time to make a switch. Your relationship with your physician is perhaps one of the most important in your life, and you want a provider who is not only highly knowledgeable and experienced, but als […]