Kurakuraw Dance Glass Bead
Elegant Taiwanese dance and music performance blends East and West
This article is from 2014.
This is the most refined of the four dance productions in the Taiwan season split between Dance Base and Summerhall. It’s the work of Tjimur, a company jointly run by siblings Baru and Ljuzem Madiljin and described as Taiwan’s ‘first and best-known contemporary indigenous dance theatre.’
The key elements are a singing storyteller (fashionably dressed in traditional garb) to one side of the stage, a cellist and a female singer (both fine if sparingly used) on the other, and in the middle two sleek, strong dancers enacting an elaborate, rather melancholic folk tale about a male peacock (Ching Hao Yang) who falls for a beautiful village girl (Chu-Yuan Hsu).
Luckily, the performance is so dreamily handsome that there's no need to worry unduly about following a strict narrative, any more than I felt I had to be steeped in the cultural traditions referenced here in order to derive pleasure from the experience.
The choreography features swinging arms and pitter-patter hops for the woman, and a sturdier, swirling mode of expression on the part of the bird-man. The tone is one of elegant romance and lamentation, an impression underlined by a diagonally placed river of red fabric upon which half a dozen shallow wicker baskets ‘float.’
Dance Base, 225 5525, until 24 Aug (not 18), 6.30pm, £10 (£8).