Cursive III

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am

Cursive III

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, Grand Theatre Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Reviewed: February 18

The Chinese title for Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's Cursive III is Kuang Chao, or 'wild calligraphy' - an expressionist aesthetic that emphasises the revelation of angst. With a performance that hinges on ferocious movements played out on a barren stage, choreographer Lin Hwai-min and his Cloud Gate dancers have provided a lively response appropriate to the art form.

This is the last instalment of Lin's Cursive trilogy, in which he has tried to adapt the way calligraphy dances on paper into choreography, through a mixture of martial arts, tai chi and contemporary dance. What casts it apart from its more melancholic predecessors (both inspired by a more refined style of calligraphy) are the rounds of fluid gestures punctuated by abrupt and sharp jolts that underline martial arts.

Cursive III is driven by solos and acts of three to four dancers. Minimalist stage and sound heighten the tension of their acts of controlled fury. A soundtrack built on natural sounds and silences (especially during the solos by Lee Ching-chun and Wen Ching-ching) plays up the sounds of the dancers' breathing and moving feet.

Performed on uncluttered terrain - compared with the vivid colours and excessive staging of the admittedly more accessible Bamboo Dream - Cursive III has a moving inner core. It's a feast that ranks with - if not trumps - the best of Merce Cunningham.