Moving Taiwanese tragedy
This article is from 2008.
Fortunately avoiding elaboration of the central metaphor - war as chess - this Taiwanese company, Dansmusicians presents a sumptuous and skilled performance. With superb dancers, a tragedy played for pathos not sentimentality and a ravishing soundtrack, it is a delightful and precise work.
Each act is preceded by lengthy explanations and the characters perform highly symbolic and technically stunning solos. Despite having its roots in political history, the story is allegorical; a study of love, loss and treachery. There are points of contact with western tradition - the grace is balletic, and the musicians form a sort of Greek chorus - but this is very different, almost alien, from European dance.
However, it is a visual treat and consistently engaging: the finale is moving and the complex choreography pushes along the pace even as the structure slows to contemplative reflection.
Universal Arts Theatre, 220 0143, until 25 Aug, 1.15pm, £10 (£9).