Water Stains on the Wall by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan returns to Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) with Water Stains on the Wall, a metaphorically rich continuation of artistic director Lin Hwai-min’s choreographic exploration of the beauty and aesthetics of calligraphy.

Projections of continuously shifting cloud shapes—reminiscent of flowing ink—transform a tilted white platform into a giant sheet of rice paper. All movement is at once filigreed and rooted, reflecting the virtuosity of chi kung, internal martial arts, modern dance, and meditation. The dancers seem to hover as they jump and spin, embodying the calligraphic potential of clouds, slithering snakes, and water stains on the wall.

Lin Hwai-min, choreographer and artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, studied Chinese opera movement in his native Taiwan, modern dance in New York, creative writing in Iowa, and classical court dance in Japan and Korea. In 1973, Lin founded the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese-speaking region, naming it after the oldest known dance in China—Cloud Gate, a ritual dance created some 5,000 years ago. Trained in tai chi tao yin—an ancient form of chi kung, modern dance, ballet, meditation and calligraphy—Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s arresting style has elicited widespread praise, with Dance Europe noting: “No company in the world dances like Cloud Gate.”

For his artistic achievements, Lin was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the World in 1983 by Jaycees International, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department of Culture of New York City in 1996, an Honorary Award of Fellowship by the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts in 1997, the Ramon Magsaysay Award (“the Nobel Prize of Asia”) and an Honorary Doctorate from National Chung Cheng University of Taiwan in 1999. Furthermore, he was selected as the “Choreographer of the 20th Century” by dance Europe magazine, nominated for the “Best Director Award” by Nyon Biannual Festival, and was chosen to be one of the “Personalities of the Year” along with Merce Cunningham, Jirí Kylián, Pina Bausch and William Forsythe, by Ballet International magazine in 2000.

He was celebrated by the Time magazine as one of the “Asia’s Heroes” in 2005, and honored by the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) with the “Distinguished Artist Award” in 2006.

First Wife of Taiwan with Lin Hwai-Ming

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