Three Taiwanese theater troupes perform at French arts festival

Three Taiwanese theater troupes performed at the Festival Off d'Avignon (Avignon Off) in France Thursday to great acclaim.

The Taiwanese delegation to the 56th edition of the festival consists of 0471 Acro Physical Theater, Hung Dance and Tai Gu Tales Dance Theatre, and their performances were lauded as the festival premiered in the French city of Avignon.

Billed as contemporary acrobatics by the festival, 0471 Acro Physical Theater's 45 minute-long "Duo" was the first Taiwanese performance to take center stage.

According to the theater's leader and choreographer Sun Cheng-hsueh (???), the message the group try to convey in "Duo" is a simple study about the dynamics of two people sharing a space and the ambiance they create.

Speaking with CNA, Sun, together with his co-creator and scene partner Hsia Ling (??), said acrobatics itself is a niche performance art form in Taiwan, never mind an event featuring two people.

As such, the pairing said they aim to learn as much as they can while in France, the mecca of acrobatic performances.

The show's producer Su Ting-ruei (???) added that the troupe wants to introduce the world to the progress made in Taiwan in the field of duo acrobatics.

Hung Dance's "See You" was up next in the July 7 schedule.

According to the group's director Lai Hung-Chung (???), the one hour piece used Tai-Chi as the core of its choreography, combined with modern dance influences such as street dancing and popping.

During the show, the troupe's dancers face different colored lights which represent unpredictable occurrences in our daily lives, Lai said.

Tai Gu Tales Dance Theatre's 55-minute piece "The Back of Beyond" was the last Taiwanese performance to premier at the festival.

According to the theater group's director Lin Hsiu-wei (???), the Avignon performance is the first time the troupe has left Taiwan to perform since 2004.

The spirit of femininity is an important message the piece seeks to convey, while also embracing love for people and nature, Lin said.

Lin added she was not worried the Buddhist influences in the piece could be difficult for foreign audiences to grasp, because at its core the piece is about salvation and love of life.

After the July 7 premiere, the shows will have reruns on July 11, 18 and 25.

French dancer and choreographer Marie-Claude Pietragalla, who saw "See You," told CNA that the choreography and dancers' interpretations were remarkable.

The choreography is poetic and powerful and the dancers were energetic and filled with emotion, she said.

Another audience member who identified herself as Véronique said she has seen many shows by Taiwanese groups and has never been let down.

Taiwanese performers are superb and there is something very charming about Taiwan, said Véronique, who also saw "See You."

The 2022 Festival Off d'Avignon is a celebration of the arts which this year is being held from July 7 to July 30.

Founded in 1966, the festival is a complimentary and expanded celebration of the 76th edition of the Festival d'Avignon.

Festival d'Avignon has been hailed as one of the world's oldest and most renowned annual arts celebrations since its initiation in 1947.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel