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Cursive II - Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Choreography Lin Hwai-min
Music John Cage

Cursive II
Dragon Flying and Phoenix Dancing - an introduction to Cursive II with Lin Hwai-min
Floating on the ground - a documentary by Reiner E. Moritz

Opus Arte DVD OA 0952 D [16:9: 147 Mins]


Here is one of the most compelling DVDs you will ever encounter, whether your particular interest is in music (a good selection of John Cage's) modern dance or, best, the widest range of aesthetic experiences.


Through discussions with an unique artist and thinker, choreographer Lin Hwai-min, you will gain interlocking insights into Chinese calligraphy (from which the DVD's title comes) meditation, Chi-Kung and martial arts (which all contribute to the training of the Cloud Gate dancers) and Lin Hwai-min's work with Zurich Ballet.


The Opus Arte publicity tells that Cursive II will "touch you with original movements, fierce as striking thunder or soft as flowing ink on rice paper, the complexity of energy further enhanced by the music of John Cage, while the blown-up images of ‘ice crackles’ from Sung porcelain shimmer with delicate beauty". Rather than my continuing, haltingly, to describe the experience, best now to view the little video-clip on the Opus Arte website. The brief extract from this abstract dance work (Lin Hwai-min has moved away from narrative) will give you a good impression of the derivation of the movements of the dancers from calligraphic patterns, but it is a pity you can't enlarge the small picture. .


For Western viewers it is particularly illuminating to watch the ballet dancers at Zurich being taught this completely new technique. Cage's music, which lives its own independent life, was chosen by Lin Hwai-min from a huge pile of CDs, and was at first felt to be unhelpful by the dancers, but later the dance and movement came mysteriously together, feeding each other.


This, I urge you, is far more than an esoteric specialist DVD. Please note also my review of the remarkable Amelia from the same firm; two introductions to 'cutting edge' modern dance, each equally compelling.


© Peter Grahame Woolf