Taipei Dance Circle
When you watch the
shiny, flexible bodies bound together in difficult poses, it's hard not to
be intrigued by the magnificent Taipei Dance Circle performers.
Liou Shaw-Lu and Yang Wan-Rung started this modern dance group in
1984. As one of the founders of Cloud Gate Dance Theater, Liou had become
skilled in various dance styles. After dancing his way across stages around
the world, he came back to Taiwan to start his own group. In the beginning,
Liou drew inspiration from his Hakka background. He
Chinese dance and music into the company's pieces. As time passed, the
Taipei Dance Circle broke away from the stiffness of traditional dance by
having its dancers expand the movements of their bodies.
However, the Chinese influence is still present. Liou's dances center
around the idea of "chi," the Chinese word that means breath, life force, or
inner spirit. As chi is the energy that flows through our bodies, Liou
believes that the dancers must harness this force to free their minds and
move their bodies.
One of the most interesting and provocative aspects of this group is
their use of baby oil. Utilizing baby oil, the company aims to "dance
without friction." Before each show, dancers are
doused in oil, making the
movement of their bodies totally fluid. On stage, the dancers appear
practically naked as they glide towards each other, dramatically
intertwining. The Taipei Dance Circle is truly a remarkable blend of Eastern
tradition and modern innovation. But the question remains: how come they
don't fall flat on their faces while dancing on oil?