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Main Works

2014<MAD Amusement Park>video 2014<MAD Amusement Park>slideshow
2013<Backpaker>video 2013<Backpaker>slideshow
2012<Dress up> video 2012<Dress up> slideshow
2011<Fragile > rehearsal video 2011<Fragile >l slideshow
2010<Little Green Man >video 2010<Little Green Man >News Report
2009<Variety> video 2009<New Puppet Ballet>  video
2008<Puppet Ballet>
2007<Pet>video

2006<Window>Event video

2005<True Man>Event video

2005<Zhan Zhuang Teaching Material> video  

2004<Grass Mountain> video

2003<Taroko> 76/min video    

2002<Zhan Zhuan>video

2001<Feel and Respond> 

2000<Sandglass>

2000<A Fantasy about Bach>

1998<Three Dynamics>

1999<Millennium Ritual>
1997<Square>

2014New Works <MAD Amusement Park>

Mad Theater’s Amusement Park opens with JS Bach’s music that gives a sense of how to behave in a line. The music gives a feeling of “waiting” without “pushing”.
In the opening dance we see what happens when the “rules” are not followed, when some don’t “know their place” or “cut-in out of turn”.  There’s conflict between good people in line and those who break the rules.
The next piece created by the choreographer Shih Gee-Tze uses amusement park rides and common children’s toys and games as inspiration for movement and dance segments.  He uses Merry-Go-Round, Charades, Play Soldiers and Calvary, Piggy-back War, and others.  Gee-Tze uses a lot of dramatic elements in this piece. Imagine an umbrella becoming a Merry-Go-Round complete with horses.
Have you ever been on a “Blind Date”?  This is a date set up by a friend where you don’t know what the other person looks like. Imagine you’re going on a blind date at an Amusement Park. There are so many things that can go wrong.  Just when you think you see that red rose she’s supposed to be holding a clown comes between you and when the clown is gone, so is she! The music of Richard Marx’s classic song “Right Here Waiting for You” provides the back-drop for this amusing piece filled with confusion, embarrassment, and romance.  Does the couple get together?  Gee-Tzi has made it possible for the audience to help or hinder these two in their quest to meet and find true love.  Will they become young lovers or not? Wait for them to sing “You are so beautiful” and let your imagination take flight with them.
The next piece uses Johann Strauss’s (Johann Strauss II, 1825-1899) "Voices of Spring" as the background for an innovative piece that conveys the concept of a Spinning Cups ride. With the help of specially designed “coffee cups” that almost throw the riders out.
What would an Amusement Park be without a Haunted House? And what would a modern dance performance be without a tribute to Michael Jackson? Gee-Tze combines dance and humor to enhance some elements of Jackson’s Thriller.  The result is both dark and humorous. Don’t get too comfortable.  This piece will scare you in ways you didn’t expect.
All Amusement Parks have Roller Coasters but not many have roller coasters with water. Indian Jones provides the theme for the water adventure in this piece. There is lots of crazy water excitement on this out-of-control boat, so be careful if you’re sitting in the front row!
Finally, the fun day at the park comes to an end.  The Star Wars Symphony provides the theme and the children provide the sadness.  Yes, the children have to go home, but some want to stay and they have a special way of demonstrating it.  Enjoy your day at MAD Theater’s Amusement Park! Be sure to come and visit us again soon! 

2013New Works <Backpacker>

Backpacker is inspired by real events that happened to me while traveling in the past. Backpackers have been traveling about since the 1960s and ‘70s. They have evolved since then, but backpackers still travel abroad on low budgets as foreign guests in different countries. Most people have experienced vacation travel of some sort – I feel this is how we connect our pasts with our futures, and how we keep trying to re-discover our own evolving social and cultural identities in the present. We can form new international friendships and bridge the gaps and misunderstandings between diverse cultures. Backpackers yearn for authentic experiences. They become educated about life. 
Backpacker  employs dark humor and multiple disciplines: combining contemporary dance techniques with Dance Theater. Backpacker  describes the happy dangers of being a traveler in today’s society in a fun yet thought-provoking way.
My backpacker character remains casually optimistic in his innocence and in the wonder and joy he finds in traveling, and in learning about the world beyond his own. While asking for directions and then again while sleeping, a team of professional pickpockets steals his money, his bag, and even his body! Later, some other backpackers come across his backpack and find many competitive ways to play, dance, and share it. His backpack is returned to him at the end of the piece, while the backpacker remains asleep and oblivious to the danger. The choreography of Backpacker is challenging as we tell a narrative while also displaying dancing and dramatic skills. 

2012New Works <Dress up>

 

The ideas and features of “Dress Up” are extended from the piece “Fragile” in 2011 by using the substances in our daily life to make up a new concept of dramatic dance of innovation, and represent it in a humorous way; through fitting in different clothes brings out the inside feelings of everyday people and be shown at their outside emotions and behavior.  Dramatic costumes also spell out the creations of body languages and visual art; moreover, the musicality as well takes an important place in this piece; from symphony to little drops of sound not only shows each frame of mind but also as a good result of our experienced dancers on techniques.

By the topic of “Clothing”, we see people from different age and level have put their mindset differently in dressing up; for instance, dancing at the ball in fancy suits with the competitions among men to earn the attention from the lady; the very one jacket in dark and cold keeps the lovers warm in hearts; the craze of shopping rush within a limited time pushes people to the attitude of insanity; at last the “Invisible Clothes” illustrates the idea of “Less is More” by focusing on each body motion.  The process from dressing up to playing with the functions of the clothes, dancers use owns’ body languages to represent the madness of creation in this piece, the transition and conflict of the dresses and dressing combined with interesting stories in the scenes truly touch the audiences’ hearts.

 

2011New Works <Fragile>

¡@        After being invited to the 8th Guangdong Modern Festival in 2011, MAD Theater worked hard to create another innovative piece called “Fragile.”
It uses unique cartons which turn and spin automatically, creating new spaces for the dancers to interact in. The ever changing space results in a maze through which dancers move.  The choreography, by Shih Gee-Tze, has blocks in various sizes and shapes being built on stage. At the same time, dancers are dressing, showing an interesting juxtaposition between packing boxes and the “packing” of human beings.  From interesting packaging to “body packing,” people will illustrate their mood with various types of “dressing”.
The choreographer, Shih Gee-Tze challenges the concept of non-dancing by using drama, devices, games and lights, eventually the audience will gently join the performance.
What is a carton? People think of it as something which provides protection, for moving and transportation of objects. It can also be stacked, moved and shifted, placed in and pulled out, creating new spaces and shapes. Finally it can be cut up, folded, destroyed, leaving no trace of itself.
 Through these sections, Shih leads us on a rollercoaster of emotion.  The work “Fragile” explores the mystery of cartons and lets an ordinary object transform the space and create something extraordinary. It challenges us to think about ourselves, how we view ourselves and our approach to life.

2010New Works <Little Green Man¡Ö¡@¡@¡@        

In 1999, the world's first traffic light with flashing countdown and a little fella in motion appeared in the streets of Taiwan . In this island known as Formosa , we call this moving fella the ¡§little green man¡¨.

Besides shouldering the responsibility of monitoring traffic safety, the little green man also serves as the source of transient pleasure for pedestrians, drivers and riders alike while they are waiting to cross the road. As soon as the light turns green, the little green man would start walking ¡V he begins with a slow pace, and then gradually speeds up, trotting on the spot until the countdown ends after roughly 60 seconds. His quicksteps remind the pedestrians to hurry up and cross the zebra strips, and the countdown warns the drivers and riders not to risk their lives rushing through when the light is about to turn red.

As a seemingly game-like traffic regulation, the little green man sees it all: the intersection is a stage where all manners of lives are performed by all kinds of people. He sees the diligence of white-collar professionals who wait in line obediently, and then dash for work when the signal alters. He feels the love of parents who take children to and pick them up from school regardless of the weather. He pities the sorrows of victims suffering from alarmingly dangerous accidents that cause merciless tragedies. In many chilly nights when cringing homeless and stray cats and dogs take over the deserted streets in the pale glimmer of the little green man, the little green man himself stands still in solitude and holds fast to his post, carrying on walking, pacing, trotting and stopping in those endless 60-second circles

 

 

2009 New Works <Variety¡Ö¡@¡@¡@¡@               ¡@

 

Since 2008, Acme Physical Dance Theatre (APDT) has been taking inspirations from elements of Taiwanese folk and popular cultures, which are turned into a work of a ¡§new Taiwanese style¡¨, an avant-garde and fashionable impressionist painting of Taiwan , the Wild Booth Stage. Remixes of live recordings from daily life of common people serve as the best framework and the most solid basis for the production of the Wild Booth Stage. These recordings include traditional Hakka bayin that is often played in weddings, funerals or festivals; popular songs that are played in outdoor seafood restaurants; old antiphonal love songs in which singers praise or argue with each other; skilled peddling of night market vendors that can be dubbed as ¡§Taiwanese rap¡¨; gaudy musical accompaniment of Nacasi-style folk bands; electronic music loved by Taik, people with a locale-specific hippie/dork manner that is indigenous to Taiwan; etc. From weddings, festivals, religious ceremonies and drinking games, to paddling in night markets, ballroom dancing in parks and beetle nut phenomenon, these scenes are humorously developed and combined in the production. With simple and understandable plot, the production is an exhibition of Taiwan 's grass-roots vitality. In terms of stage design, poles, bar stools, transparent round tables and mobile screens are set up according to various combinations of dance, image, narration, drama, installation and music. Dancers, actors and multi-media are experimentally put onto the same stage, bringing countless pleasant surprises. In great admiration to the creativity of common people, the choreography itself is likewise ludic and labile, wildly presenting the tensions of human bodies.

<NEW Puppet Ballet¡Ö¡@¡@¡@¡@              

¡@¡@The art form of Chinese ¡§Hand Puppets¡¨ has evolved from the traditional outdoor ¡§small stage¡¨ performance to the popular dramas presented on Chinese and Taiwanese TV.  Today in Taiwan, the younger generation ¡§takes to the streets¡¨ to act out the characters, roles, and stories of traditional hand puppet theater. This ¡§acting out¡¨ brings together a wide range of popular visual and performing arts including photography, videography, acting, elaborate costuming, vividly colorful make-up, stage construction, and all with a popular and/or traditional music background.

 

¡@¡@The dance work ¡§Puppet Ballet¡¨ uses music ranging from the traditional ¡§Pei-Guang¡¨ to modern electronic music.  The dancers are costumed in unique dress and assume traditional Hand Puppet roles. The result is a strange, sometimes humorous, and inharmonious movement. It¡¦s hard to say if ¡§the people control the puppets¡¨ or if ¡§the puppets control the people¡¨.  Gradually the dancers find a way to adjust and create harmony in much the same way that traditional Chinese Hand Puppets and Western Ballet have found new expression in the 21st century.

<Window>                                                                              

        


<TRUE MAN >                                                                        

                       

     

¡@

     “True Man” is composed of two scenes. Scene one features ancient Eastern style, solemn and dignified in tone, while scene two is Western, modern, and fast-paced. However, the two seemingly opposite scenes in fact present one central theme ¡V “True and Untrue.”

     In Scene One we see artists reveling in the joy of life, writing, painting, chanting, dancing, and playing music at their pleasure. This is a modern interpretation of “True Man” in Chung Tze. The choreography is inspired by the ancient Chinese who practiced writing on the ground by using bamboo sticks as pens. Their movements are a fusion of sword dance and writing; now pointing and piercing, now swinging and swirling like swords. The energy flows through their breath and movements. It’s an innovation of the Eastern dance. It’s a representation of the Western proverb, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The audience would have to see it with their heart to comprehend.

¡@¡@Scene Two portrays “seeing the true through the untrue” with ease and humor. The dancers dance with “untrue (unreal) people”-- puppets of real human size. Amidst the sound of the trance music, the dancers move around in awkward and eccentric movements. The puppets dance with “true man”. Then the true man in turn mimic the untrue people (puppets) by manipulating each other like puppets. The dancers form lots of contact and combinations in the movements. The subjects and the objects begin to get confused, and so do the real and unreal, the true and untrue, creating a comic effect. It bears a striking resemblance with the lives of modern people ¡V fast-paced, having to play different roles and change identity constantly to adapt to the ever-changing human relationships. The chaotic and countless movements may seem easy, but are in fact difficult and complex. The scene begins with the combinations of two people, then three, four, five and six people, touching each other and passing around the energy. These images represent the relationships between subjects and objects. The arrangements are complicated and full of drama, and every element in the dance is connected, creating a rich and engaging effect.

¡@¡@The choreographer Mr. She conceives scene one as revealing the artists¡¦ true nature - the ¡§true man.¡¨ Scene two also discusses the theme of ¡§true man¡¨, but argues from the opposite standpoint in the image of the ¡§fake man¡¨. He uses real people to play puppets as a satire of the modern human relationships where people manipulate and use each other. The real human beings and the puppets form an interesting contrast. As a quote from the Chinese classic ¡§A Dream of the Red Chamber¡¨ goes, ¡§When the unreal becomes real, the real becomes unreal. When the real becomes unreal, the unreal becomes real.¡¨ As a stark contrast to the solemn and pure ¡§true man¡¨ in Scene One, in Scene Two the dancers become ¡§untrue¡¨, fooled and manipulated.


¡@

¡qGrass Mountain (Yangmingshan)¡r

Conceived and choreographed by Artistic Director Shih Gee-Tze

This, the newest of Acme Physical Dance Theatre¡¦s National Park series reveals a handful of the mysteries surrounding Yangmingshan or "Grass Mountain". This park is significant for many reasons. The most immediate of these is in its function as a natural sanctuary to the residents of Taipei City. Its close physical proximity acts as a huge garden for city dwellers to escape their busy and stressful lives. Indeed, historically, it has served this function since the beginning of Japanese rule (1895.)

Grass Mountain is also unique in its geological makeup. Volcanoes and fuming crevices steam and fume through a barren tortured landscape, while a stone¡¦s throw away,butterflies dance among masses of vibrant trees,

shrubs and greenery. Owing to this layered nature of Yangmingshan park, choreographer Shih Gee-Tze has chosen to present the multiple aspects of meaning through 4 separate acts: ¡§Blossoming,¡¨ ¡§Red Mountain,¡¨ ¡§Night Scenery,¡¨ and ¡§Mountain Living.¡¨


Act One: The Blossoming

In season, azaleas, flowering plums, cherries and other flowers attract swarms of flower watchers as well as butterflies and pollinating insects. To best present this vitality and dynamism of spring, we choose to look at the mysteries of a misty morning sunrise and the awakening of butterflies, young bees, and flocks of songbirds. To frame this concept, Choreographer Gee-Tze has chosen to present the ¡§unveiling¡¨ of the Toyogo (gauche) painting by Japanese artist Kinoshinta Seigai (1889-1992). During his nearly 25 years as a North Taiwan resident, Mr. Seigai drew inspiration from the surrounding scenery. As the sun wipes away the remains of night¡¦s stillness, this Segai masterpiece is revealed and nature rejoices.

Act Two: Red Mountain

The inspiration for this act comes from two historical myths. The first involves Yu Yung -Her a volunteer Ching Dynasty(1644-1912) military commander who was sent to explore Taiwan on behalf of a Chinese Emperor for 10 months. Yung-Her was an early archivist and cultural anthropologist. He was the first emissary to Taiwan from the Mainland to record the island¡¦s geography, people, and culture by writing his ¡§Be¡V Hi itinerary¡¨ (roughly, a travelogue by surmounting the Taiwan Strait to Formosa).
As a result of Grass Mountain¡¦s long standing sulphur mine, certain areas have the special red of chemically rich earth and subterranean heat. One day, Yung-Her watched the sun¡¦s setting colors through the rising steam of this sulphur-orange landscape and eternally claimed ¡§The grass of the Red mountain appears to be on fire.¡¨
Another inspiration comes from the aboriginal Ketagalan People who live on and around Yangmingshan. They claimed the subterranean heat, vapors and fumes to be sent by witches and named the place ¡§Patauw¡¨ (translated, simply, as witch). This myth perpetuated throughout the period of Japanese rule (Japanese occupiers bathed in the ¡§Witch¡¦s hot spring ¡¨) and continues today with signposts for the Patauw area of the park.
To emphasize these two stories, Gee-Tze has attempted to recreate the burning ground using unusual floor materials, smoke, and lighting. In this landscape, a lost tourist is met and seduced by a non-human witch. Through their interaction, a communication develops that leads the tourist and the audience on a unique mountain journey through this unusual beautiful territory.

Act Three: Night Scenery

While the most familiar view of Grass Mountain is that by daylight, many modern Taipei residents visit to appreciate the magical vistas of night. Indeed, throughout the night, young people visit to stargaze far from the distracting neon of downtown, and lovers congregate to share romantic moments with a view only comparable to those mountain lookouts of Hollywood movies. Some call Grass Mountain a ¡§non-sleeping¡¨ mountain.

To present this, we have attempted to emulate nature¡¦s majesty. Gee-Tze has designed a space using a multitude of tiny electric bulbs dotting the stage. Dancers play among and around this romantic ¡§starscape¡¨ in solos, duets and complex group movement. By running and flying through and under the bulbs, they enrich the active Grass Mountain nightscape.

Act Four: Mountain Living

As a natural place becomes popular with the masses, care has to be taken to preserve that which drew the hordes in the beginning. No one is greater witness to the changes that popularity brings than the residents of Grass Mountain themselves. They witness the daily confrontation of nature and the modern world. In preparation for this piece, Mr. Shih Gee-Tze visited and interviewed Yangmingshan elder lifetime resident Qiu A-Haw. He was a cowherd who has taken care of hundreds of bulls since childhood and worked as a porter to carry heavy things up and down the mountain. ¡§Day after day,¡¨ he said, ¡§time changes rapidly.¡¨ Even with the protection granted under the status of a national park, the crowds appear on the mountain on holidays and special events. However, nature is amazingly resilient. If care is taken, the rhythm does not change, and the Flowers bloom, the crevices fume , and the cicadas sing on.

To represent this daily drama of the natural world and challenges that this new generation brings, Mr. Gee-Tze positions a solo female dancer. She is the classic delicate and graceful azalea existing in the breeze. She must maintain her own light among the arriving trio of non-traditional up tempo new-generational influences. This strenuous contrast¡Xthe competition for light and the purity of sound, is brought to a climax by mother nature herself. People must live by the rules of nature to survive and the dancers are ¡§swallowed¡¨ by the mountain. To represent this, we see another gouache painting of a magnificent mountain and trees by Japanese artist Gobara Koto(1892 ~1965), whose work is often featured in Taiwan. As the dancers walk into the mountain, their minds focus on the mountain and feel the passing of time and learn to respect the power of nature.


¡qTaroko¡r¡@¡@¡÷ ¡ö

Dancing with and as a celebration of National Parks of Taiwan is the motive of choreographer Shih Gee-Tze. He wants to interweave dance with nature as he has done in 2002 with the work ¡§Zhan Zhuan,¡¨ which was recently presented successfully in Moscow, Russia and on tour around Taiwan. For 2003, Acme Physical Dance Theatre has expanded on this idea and has now undertaken the challenge of presenting a combined movement journey within the spectacular gorge ¡§Taroko.¡¨ By doing so, Shih hopes to capture the spectacular elements of the gorge scenery and weave it together within the framework of the theatre. With this piece, he hopes to sing the praises of and celebrate the beauty of this national treasure with

Taiwanse people as well as the world community-at-large through dance. To this end, Acme Physical Dance Theatre is using a professional technical crew to blend motion picture projections and photos to recreate ¡§Taroko¡¨ as a stage design. Thus, the dancers will appear to dance in the Liwuchi river, balance on the rocks before the waterfalls and even climb the canyon walls. The video not only shows behind the dancers, but surrounds them on the ground as well, in effect, creating the ambiance and visual beauty of Taroko on the stage. Shih Gee-Tze has been inspired by Taroko to teach a movement style that is less institutionalized and academic, unique and unimitable. The dancers develop themselves in a pose like the tree in nature, fluid like the river, and bending in the wind. Dancers ¡§melt¡¨ into the film and photos to the accompaniment of Aboriginal traditional Northern and Southern Taiwanese music sung by the ¡§Tai Ya¡¨, ¡§Buno¡¨, and ¡§Zow¡¨ tribes. Adding to this vocal accompaniment is the use of traditional ¡§Tai Ya¡¨ and ¡§Pai Wan¡¨ ancient strung instruments and wooden percussion pillars-- the sound of which inspires celebration, consolation, protection, and marriage. Following nature¡¦s example, the different elements on the stage co-exist in harmony with one another¡Xdancers, music, stage properties, and visual footage¡Xall balanced, in tune, and creating a wonder to be appreciated¡K.much like ¡§Taroko¡¨ itself.

An explanation of the title Xia Lu: The title of this performance is made up of two Chinese double entendres and therefore merits explanation. The character for Xia means on a simple level a canyon, or gorge. Lu signifies a personal journey. However, Xia also carries a deeper meaning, that of the ancient band of warriors that protected their ruler, their country, and freedom throughout Asia with martial arts skill and clear minds. Likewise, Lu means a gathering or feeling of togetherness or cooperation. These double meanings in the title allow you, the audience, to make a choice. Are you witness to journey through the gorge or are you also present at a gathering of ancient martial arts practitioners and protectors?


¡qZhan Zhuang¡r ¡@¡@¡÷ ¡ö¡@


The dance work Zhan Zhuang is based on a fundamental component of eastern martial arts known as zhan zhuang, or "standing like a tree." In the original form of this exercise, the practitioner positioned his feet on top of a tree stump. He worked to become rooted, cultivated his internal energy, and put stability before motion. Hence he could be still like Mount Tai, yet powerful like a mighty river.
As a result of deep inquiry into the fundamental ideas underlying zhan zhuang, the choreographer has developed a new vocabulary for eastern dance. An example is the harnessing of energy created by cultivating qi in the dantian (a point just below the navel) so as to allow a body crouching low or lying prostrate to smoothly and elegantly glide along the ground: as energy is conducted between toes, knees, legs, buttocks, waist, back and shoulders, each momentarily becomes the sole interface between the body and the ground. Another example is the beauty of standing still on tiptoe: a bubbling spring of energy wells up from the earth; all things converge and it is as if one has gone to heaven. One enters a wonderland where the body is still and suffused with the energy of the world.


¡qFeel and Respond¡r

Premiere: Sep19, 2001, Taichung
Choreography: Shih Gee-Tze
Lighting Design: Hsiang Jen-Hao
Prop Design: Shih Gee-Tze
Costume Design: Shih Gee-Tze

Inspired by the cool breezes, green grass and garden paths of Taichung City, as well as the natural beauty, purity and scenic wonders of Australia, the choreographer has brought together different customs, lands and peoples to create the dance work "Feel and Respond."

"Feel and Respond" is divided into three parts. Part One is performed by Australian dancers. Its most important features are a technique involving relaxation and pressing oneself to the floor, amazing moves and jumps, and a dialogue between the dancers and Mother Earth. Part Two is performed by dancers from the Acme Physical Theatre. The dancers are paired throughout the stage amongst a sea of clouds, giant floating curtains, and a sky full of falling leaves. The dancers and the leaves dance together in the wind. In the third part, dancers from the two lands perform together. Through a variety of quick and delicate contact moves such as throws and flips requiring physical interaction between the dancers, intermixed with Tai Chi "pushing hands" motions that produce an air of simultaneous togetherness and aloofness, the dancers display the highest level of tacit understanding.


¡ÕA Fantasy about Bach ¡Ö

Click to enlargePremiere:  Aug 26,2000,Taipei

Choreography:  Shih Gee-Tze

Lighting Design:  Hsiang Jen-Hao

Prop Design: Verner Panton

Costume Design: Shih Gee-Tze

Music:  Johann Sebastian Bach¡A1685~1750

It is not saying too much to call Bach (1685-1750) the pivotal figure in 18th century Baroque music.  He gave today's music a strong foundation.  Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven followed in his footsteps, supplying the leaves and branches, to form the peak of the classical school.  Bach was the great synthesizing force of contrapuntal music, and his Musical Offering took counterpoint to its highest level.  Today, without the need to flatter kings and serve the church, choreographers are free to use whatever methods are necessary to express their feelings for the music.  We cannot know how Bach felt, but we can fantasize!In the use of body language, besides employing motions which match the force of the music by reflecting the linearity, smoothness and gentleness of the Musical Offering, the choreographer also draws from the beautiful artifice and ornamentation of the Rococo wave.  This sort of brilliance is not necessarily best conveyed by ballet, but perhaps is better illustrated by the twists and rotations of joints that characterize more innovative dance forms.In his staging, Shi Gee-Tze was inspired by the curves of golf course sand traps.  Hence amongst a wondrous and colorful environment of curved shapes, the dancers dance an inspiring movement of Bach!A Musical Offering was Bach's expression of reverence for God, and this production is choreographer Shi Gee-Tze's expression of admiration and gratitude to Bach for his role in the past two hundred fifty years of civilization's progress. Why should not we approach the 21st century full of confidence and fantasy? So let us title this dance work "A Fantasy about Bach" and present to the world our "musical offering"!


¡ÕSandglass¡Ö

 

Click to enlargePremiere: Feb 26, 2000, Taipei
Choreography: Shih Gee-Tze
Lighting Design: Hsiang Jen-Hao
Prop Design: Shih Gee-Tze
Costume Design: Shih Gee-Tze

Act One: The Passage of Time

A group of dancers opens the act with a series of lifts and other technically challenging contact maneuvers. Then, amidst the sound of the rushing waters of a great flood, they are washed from stage left to stage right and disappear, leaving a single dancer on a beach. She moves her joints in circles and her limbs follow, and with repeated motions she forms parabolas in the air to portray an hourglass, which is the most important body language of this work. Moving amidst amorphous media such as the flow of sand, reflections of light and the sound of water, dancers act out the theme of the passage of time. Dead wood hanging in the air symbolizes the ruthlessness of time: the wood is from trees of the Nantou disaster area that died in the earthquake of September 21, 1999. The dancers sway and rock their bodies and limbs, repeatedly hinting at the passage of time and the fleeting beauty of an ephemeral and uncertain universe.

Act Two: Celestial Bodies

Male and female dancers, yin and yang in harmony. Their breathing is like the waxing and waning of the moon or the changing of the seasons. With circular motions they draw parabolas that suggest the endless motion of celestial bodies. The dancers perform contact maneuvers and lifts, solid yet flowing, orbiting and swinging, that capture the souls of the audience. Pools of water surrounded by sand look like mirages, creating a surrealistic effect. The dancers concentrate their energy on the body's central point; then they exert force on their bodies from that point, and their limbs follow to draw beautiful parabolas. Finally, a group of dancers performs a long canonesque series of overlapping motions, portraying on a larger scale the endless motion of celestial bodies.¡@


¡ÕMillennium Ritual¡Ö

Click to enlargePremiere: Sep19, 1999, Hsinchuang
Choreography: Shih Gee-Tze
Lighting Design: Hsiang Jen-Hao
Prop Design: Shih Gee-Tze
Costume Design: Shih Gee-Tze

Act One: Chaos
This act is a disturbing display of concentrated tension. It consists of three parts entitled "This Mortal World," "Worried Hearts" and "Shackled Bodies." Innovative stage props such as rice paper handscrolls and rock-climbing equipment create a fantastic atmosphere. The act portrays a process in which people, in a state of confusion and restrained by external objects, are unable to escape and struggle with increasing force. Particularly notable is a difficult and expressive sequence in "Shackled Bodies" in which rock-climbing ropes are used to pull the dancers horizontally to showcase the beauty and tension of the human body out of balance.

Act Two: Regeneration
The first scene, "Praying to Heaven," takes the form of a ceremony in which the dancers pray for peace through the medium of a sorcerer. The synergy between the costumes and the calligraphy handscrolls used as props is a particularly creative feature of this scene. The second scene, "Cleansing of the Soul," is a duet. Two spirits gradually return from a strange, mystical, calm atmosphere. They become increasingly lively and frolic merrily on the stage. The third scene, "The World at Peace," expresses the harmonious state of a great reign of peace. It is an ensemble dance requiring the highest level of teamwork, featuring difficult contact maneuvers and quick movements and leaps. It is an explosive finale! Before he choreographed "Millennium Ritual," dance troupe leader Shih Gee-Tze once wrote: "A dancer's discipline is like a monk's devotion, and a performance is like offering a sacrifice. For the dancers, dance is a religion.


¡ÕThree Dynamics¡Ö

Click to enlargePremiere: Nov 21,1998,Taipei
Choreography: Shih Gee-Tze
Lighting Design: Hsiang Jen-Hao
Prop Design: Shih Gee-Tze
Costume Design: Shih Gee-Tze

The theme of this three-part work is changes in dynamics.

Part One: Flow
The curtain rises. The lights come up gradually, and the sound of a stream is heard. The dancers lie on the stage and shake lightly. Emphasis is placed on the body language engendered by relaxation of the body and mind. The distinctive feature of this piece is that the dancers sway, rock and shake in a trance-like state.

Part Two: Transmission
This piece is performed solo by a male dancer. He demonstrates the subtle dynamic changes that separate relaxation and looseness from tension and control. He skillfully takes advantage of gravity to perform twists, turns and other interesting movements.

Part Three: Radiation
From "Flow" to "Transmission" to "Radiation," the mood of "Three Dynamics" changes gradually from peaceful and calm to passionate and excited. Continuing the progressive increase in energy that characterized the transition from "Flow" to "Transmission," "Radiation" emphasizes speed, tension, control, and sharp lines radiating outward. A feeling of radiation is created not only by the shapes of the dancers' bodies, but also by the spring of centrifugal force as the dancers tautly counterbalance each other in a large circle rotating at high speed. The piece showcases the dazzling technical abilities of individual dancers, and brings "Three Dynamics" to its climax.


¡ÕSquare¡Ö

Click to enlargePremiere: Aug 26,1997,Taichung
Choreography: Shih Gee-Tze
Lighting Design: Hsiang Jen-Hao
Prop Design: Shih Gee-Tze
Costume Design: Shih Gee-Tze
Music: Tibet Hymn ¡® Chao Gee-Ping

"Square" draws its ideas from ritual and from the martial arts.

In ancient times, in both the east and the west, various art forms were present in religious rituals. Dance is one important example; this primitive form of expression, which predated language, has always been inseparable from our lives. Sorcerers may be deemed the first dancers on earth!

The martial arts, for their part, occupy an extremely important position in the development of ancient Chinese dance. In ancient China, dancing and fighting skills often coexisted in the field to discipline the army, or on the stage for entertainment. It is notable that the character for "martial" and the character for "dance" have similar pronunciations, and that some people did not differentiate between the two disciplines.

"Square" draws from the traditional intermixing of martial arts and dance to create a novel style. Such a traditional yet innovative style is a type of experiment. After all, as much as western technology and literature have become part of the contemporary east, consideration of how to place eastern cultures within art holds great interest for artists and is an important mission for them.

Also worth mentioning is that the staging in "Square" takes a creative direction that is especially appealing to Shih Gee-Tze himself. From the earliest times in his artistic career, he has dreamed of making the stage into a canvas, painting on the canvas, and having dancers dance on the painting. "Square" is his first attempt to realize that ideal.

During the two years of work that were required to complete "Square," Shih Gee-Tze saw the dancers work hard to learn each new addition to their dance vocabulary. He was moved by the dancers' perseverance. Shih Gee-Tze once said: "If 'Square' is a ritual, then I believe that the dancers, like myself, are believers who have sacrificed their bodies to dance. A dancer's discipline is like a monk's devotion, and a performance is like offering a sacrifice. For the dancers, dance is a religion."

 



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