By Madison Lotenschtein
The shuffling of shoes down the dimly lit aisles of an auditorium molds feelings of excitement and perhaps a bit of claustrophobia all into four words: It’s almost show time. What wonders from the corners of the world will be on display for the audience today? Hancher has rolled up its sleeves, and from the East, presents the Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan, a dance company from across the Pacific that also has ties to the University of Iowa.
“The company’s founder, Lin Hwai-min, came to the university to take part in the International Writing Program and then enrolled in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop,” said Rob Cline, the Hancher director of marketing communications. “While he was on campus, he took a dance class, and it changed his life. He graduated from the university in 1971 and founded Cloud Gate in 1973. The work the company will dance here, Formosa, is apparently his last performance-length piece of choreography. He plans to retire from Cloud Gate in 2019.”
Formosa sweeps audiences into the landscape of Taiwan and displays artistic examples of universal truths and struggles alike. The dancers are highly trained, skilled in meditation, martial arts, Qi Gong, ballet, and modern dance.
Having performed globally, Lin Hwai-min and his performers have been recognized at Hancher three times before. Even with international fame, the group still performs in the cities and countryside of Taiwan. Having originally been derived from China, “Cloud Gate” is named after the of the oldest dance known in Chinese history.