Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan 

Exquisite technique isn't usually what I look for first in dance. But this Taiwanese company's technique absolutely bowls me over. The performers are trained in tai chi, martial arts, Chinese opera, modern dance, and ballet, and artistic director Lin Hwai-min's choreography twists them in every conceivable direction around the axis of the spine. They can move with breathtaking swiftness or in heart-stopping slow motion, and they achieve stillness and balance in poses that look impossible to hold for even a split second. Wild Cursive--the hour-long piece that concludes a trilogy whose first installment was performed here in 2003--receives its U.S. premiere here. The title comes from "wild calligraphy," which reveals spiritual states and represents the height of a calligrapher's achievement. And the spare, intermittent sounds of the percussive score do sound wild, preverbal and prehuman, evoking wind whistling, stones falling, water running, the buzzing of crickets. Lin speaks at 7 PM before both performances; they're free for ticket holders. a Fri-Sat 10/13-10/14, 8 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-344-8300, $18-$48.

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