PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

The Eternal Tides

Date and Venue February 3, 2018 at 8pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Choreography Lin Lee-Chen

Dancers Wu Ming- Ching, Wang Chien-Yi, Cheng Chieh-Wen, Chen Chi-Shun, Feng Kai-Lun, Chan Hui-Fang, Cheng Yu-Shu, Chen Liang-Yun, Huang Yu-Wen, Yen Wei-Yi , Huang Yao-Ting, Ping Yen-Ning, Chen Hung-Chi, Guo Ding-Wei, Li Gen-Ang, Lee Chung Hei, Hsiao Ching-Hsin

Reviewer John Jane

There is a strange beauty in Legend Lin Dance Theatre’s latest visually stunning dance spectacle The Eternal Tides. Choreographer and artistic director Lin Lee Chen brings her company to Canada for the first time to be the main event at this year’s PuSh Festival (one of the troupe’s dancers is featured on the PuSh festival guide cover).

There is a strong linear narrative to The Eternal Tides that takes the audience on an exotic journey that explores the rapture and torment of life from birth to rebirth. Much of the dance vocabulary appears to be ritualized and executed in mesmerizing slow motion. The choreography throughout the two hours of constant movement by the eight female and eight male dancers plus principal dancer Wu Ming- Ching is powerfully evocative of the ocean and how it affects life and continuous renewal. But Lin Lee Chen has incorporated elements of spirituality, traditional Taiwan religious rites and erotica.

The work begins with large white silks across the width of the stage and height of the proscenium raised to reveal Wu Ming- Ching, a supine nearly naked figure with ridiculously long hair in a fetal position. She begins to move – slowly at first – everything that happens here, happens at a torpid pace, yet with absolute control. As two drummers pound out a repetitive beat on large drums, the dancer seems to awaken and begins to swirl around and around with her long hair swishing across the floor as if in a hypnotic trance. For what seems like an age, but probably only 15 to 20 minutes, the dancer’s movement become monotonous, ending in a primal scream.

In a following dance sequence, a man and woman (Wang Chien-Yi and Cheng Chieh-Wen) approach each other at a glacial pace, finally meet at centre stage. The woman’s skin is like white porcelain and the man is tanned. As she places her head against his torso their bodies fold together like origami in exquisitely sensual dance vocabulary.

The program concludes with a female dancer walking delicately on a white sheet emulating the planting of seedlings – perhaps a theatrical metaphor for humanity’s renascence.

Lin Lee-Chen is already an internationally celebrated choreographer with a reputation for creating epic works. There is no doubt that The Eternal Tides will enhance her stature even more.

© 2018 John Jane