Echoes of the Imagination: TIFA 2016

This year’s Taiwan International Festival of the Arts (TIFA, 台灣國際藝術節) is fast approaching, and while there’s no obvious stand-out, must-see dance, there’s plenty of interest, including three works from the UK. This year’s theme is “Echoes from Imagination,” the festival’s aim being to realise the indefinite possibilities of creativity and creative artists.

From Britain, Hofesh Shechter (侯非胥·謝克特) is sure to set the National Theater rocking with Sun, 75 minutes of loud music, fabulous lighting, visceral movement, and even a few jokes. M¡longa (米隆加) by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (西迪·拉比) was the first international large-scale tango production to be directed by a non-Argentine artist. It explores the traditional dance from a different perspective, and includes some fabulous film. Arthur Pita’s (亞瑟·皮塔) The Little Match Girl (賣火柴的小女孩) is a delightful, family-friendly take on the Hans Christian Anderson tale about a child’s dreams and hopes.

Thirteen Tounges (十三聲) is the first whole-evening work for Cloud Gate 2 (雲門2) by artistic director Cheng Tsung-lung (鄭宗龍). Thirteen Tongues is a legendary street artist from 1960s Bangka, noted for his storytelling and playing of multiple roles, male and female. Cheng promises to bring us the vigorous and exuberant vitality of that part of the city. Cloud Gate 2 will be visiting London in the autumn with a triple-bill, something to look out for.

Also on the dance programme is the latest work by Taishin Arts Award winner Lai Tsui-shuang (賴翠霜), Sounds, Body, Memories (發聲) for Lais Creative Dance Theatre (實驗劇場), in which she portrays the encounter between body and sounds.

From France, choreographer, designer, and rock musician Christian Rizzo (克里斯汀·赫佐) blends elements and rhythms of traditional dances from Greece, Turkey and Middle East with rock’n’roll in d’après une histoire vraie (依據真實).

Collaborations between local and international artists have always been a part of TIFA, and this year features an intriguing looking one from two artists with very different backgrounds: Roland Auzet (羅蘭·奧澤), composer, percussionist and designer from France, who trained in a circus academy; and Indian choreographer Arushi Medgal (阿露西·穆耿). SAMA (印× 法交鋒) promises a “witty dialogue and debate” as each discovers new things in the other, drawing on old traditions to create something new.

Although falling into the theatre category, Lover (愛人), a collaboration between composer Christian Jost (克利斯提安.佑斯特), U-Theatre (優人神鼓) and the Rundfunkchor Berlin (柏林廣播電台合唱團), also looks interesting as director Liu Ruo-yu (劉若瑀) considers the uncertainty and ambiguity of desires between lovers.

It falls into the theatre category, but there’s also likely to be plenty of movement interest in Contemporary Legend Theatre’s (當代傳奇劇場) interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (仲夏夜之夢), Shakespeare’s story of the Fairy King and Queen, earthly lovers, and a naughty imp. Led by Wu Hsing-kuo (吳興國), the company has quite a record of successful Chinese opera productions of Western classics, other Shakespeare adaptations including The Kingdom of Desire (慾望城國, from Macbeth) and War and Eternity (from Hamlet, 王子復仇記). In this, the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, there’s more Shakespeare on offer with Oliver Py’s (歐利維耶•畢) modern day take on King Lear (李爾王).

TIFA 2016 runs from February 25 to April 17. For more details visit (English) or (中文).

SeeingDance will be in Taipei covering all the dance performances. Keep checking back for updates, or watch our Facebook or Twitter feeds.