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Tai-gu Tales Dance Theater (Taiwan)
Choreographer: Hsiu-wei Lin

The Life of Mandala
February 12, 13 & 14, 2004
Centre Pierre-Pladeau

“The mystical beauty of the lean, aesthetic figures moving with one another created a solemn, peaceful aura.” Show Guide

Danse Danse counts itself fortunate to host the first-ever visit to Quebec of Tai-gu Tales, the Taiwan-base troupe whose fame has long extended beyond the frontiers of the Far East. The company will be presenting The Life of Mandala, its signature piece that, since its creation in 1994, has conquered audiences at the world’s premier dance festivals, from Châteauvallon in France and Cultura Nova in the Netherlands, to Spoleto in the United States.

“The sheer force of the dancing was such that the audience could feel it in their gut. A solid performance that came from the heart.”
The Europe Journal

Inspired by a tragic event—the death of a set designer and friend backstage during an actual performance—The Life of Mandala pays homage to the human spirit in all its resiliency. The piece could also be described as a moment of truth, and of acceptance of man’s place in the universe. Interpreted by six female dancers trained in both traditional and modern styles, and six male dancers from the exacting school of Chinese opera, The Life of Mandala stands revealed as nothing less than a shock wave, a work of wisdom focused on the future.

The story of Tai-gu Tales is, first and foremost, that of two dancers joined by their personal and artistic destinies: Hsiu-wei Lin, première danseuse of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, and Peking Opera star Hsing-kuo Wu. From their meeting in 1987 emerged Tai-gu Tales, a company whose unique style combines the centuries-old tradition of Peking Opera and the brusque immediacy of contemporary dance. Drawing her inspiration from the two disciplines, choreographer and artistic director Hsiu-wei Lin has constructed a vocabulary of singular eloquence for The Life of Mandala.

For the choreographer, creativity and physical performance cannot be separated from meditation. The result is a hard-to-define quality, subtle, near ritualistic, and entirely captivating. The webzine Dance Insider has observed that The Life of Mandala appears to evoke the beauty of mandalas, as well as being an exploration of the body as both sculpture and artifice.

Tai-gu Tales has performed in many European countries and in the United States. The Canadian segment of its North American tour will also bring it to Ottawa and Toronto.

April 2003

Photos: Chun-Der Hsieh