Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Theater overcomes obstacles in staging ‘Pine Smoke’ in Barcelona

Performing at an open-air venue poses challenges to choreographer and dancers

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Cloud Gate Theatre performs 'Pine Smoke' in Barcelona (Photo by CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The renowned Cloud Gate Theater (雲門舞集) managed to deliver a performance of one of its classic choreographies in Barcelona on July 10, at a venue that offered a sensual feast to the audiences but posed great challenges to the dancers – the open-air theater “Teatre Grec” with its iconic rocky backdrop.  

Pine Smoke, the second part of “Cursive: A Trilogy” created by maestro Lin Hwai-min (林懷民), is a tribute to Chinese calligraphy where the movements of dancers are designed to evoke the image of strokes and curvy lines characteristic of the traditional art. The title denotes the smoke produced during the process of burning pine wood to make tone-rich black ink.    

When performing, the dancers are dressed in flowing pants to complement their moves in achieving elegance, a dress code that suits just fine in indoor venues but could spell disaster for performances taking place in outdoor theaters, reported CNA.

From rehearsals to the actual performances, dancers have found themselves stumbling on stage due to winds coming from nowhere blowing up their pants. It requires extraordinary coordination and spontaneity to deal with such unexpected incidents, according to the performers.

On the other hand, the lack of wings on the open stage has hampered the dancers’ ability to move around, while the lit-up stage adjacent to the dense woods has become a huge draw for bugs and flies in summertime that serve as a source of disturbance when performing.

One of the unfortunate dancers suffered a bee sting during a rehearsal the day prior to the performance, CNA reported.

Cloud Gate Theater performs in Barcelona against a rocky backdrop (Photo by CNA)