Mending Dance Theater
新秩序藍色星期一 / A New Order: The Blue Monday
The Performing Art Critics Forum’s Reviews
Set in a stage space designed using the light strips, the scenario manifested by the performers conjures a sense of belonging and an individual’s survival space, and further through the music and visual changes, coupled with physical interactive movements, it comes to highlight a subtle sense of distance. (Guo Jia-yen)
2018-06-05 The dance art
The Color of the Soul [A new order – the Blue Monday]
Performance: The Mending Dance Theater
Date: 20:00, 2018/05/26
Venue: The Performing 36 Rooftop Little Theater
Article by Guo Jia-yen (dance department graduate student, National Taiwan University of Arts)
What conjures up in your mind on “Blue Monday”? Blue: it is trepidation; Monday: the first day of each workweek. The Blue Monday, perhaps so?
Upon entering into the theater, a psychedelic music envelops the audience through perceiving the sound, which goes on until the performance begins. The lights go on gradually, the black box condenses an air of trepidation, where the performers utilize their bodies to convey each individual entity’s choice of varied mindsets and moods stepping into the “Blue Monday”, unfolding the very core of the entire performance work.
The dancers embark with dance elements, and in bodily control, they steadfastly increase the dynamic strength’s fluctuations, or turn to a trembling bodily language to convey a speed development of the inner struggle in emotional yearning, deploying the dance, drama, music, lighting and stage devices, and through a diverse range of artistic medium combined in the work, complete with exploring the link and correlation between individual and individual, to manifest an intertwined sense of beauty in space and the human body, which in other words suggests deploying an imaginary scene projecting through the stage onto the eyes of the audience.
The work combines the modern dance, street dance and an innovative storyline, smartly integrating a diverse yet dissimilar linguistic essence to harbor new linguistic elements, emphasizing major events in live that living is less easy by listening to the lonely hearts when faced with life’s hardship and struggles in this world. Each dancer enacts a different role and appears on stage from varied positions, relying on the colors to awaken themselves in life, and be it the pressure, fear, chaotic fracture or isolation imposed by the individual, familial, societal aspects, the choreographer attempts to aspire the audience to self-reflection, to rediscover hope in their mind and soul amid the pressures by turning the hidden oppression and outburst into positive viewpoints by regarding crises as a turning point for cooling evaluation, to ponder how best to jointly face up and handle the situation. By recapping the foregoing described, if able to transform the so-called blue, the inner anxiety of one’s heart, into a positive thinking, a good live would exist in a cyclical manner between you and me.
Set in a stage space designed using the light strips, the ambience the performers manifest conjures a sense of belonging and an individual’s survival space, and then through the music and visual changes, coupled with intertwined bodily movements, privacy between the people as emphasized in today’s society can be discovered, where although there are many physical contacts, but they are merely shoulder-brushing, a sign further highlights a subtle phenomenon of a social distance, which can be true yet a form of escapism shunning from face to face encounter, but such kind of the “option” eventually ties to what one decides on all things.
When time is likened to a timer on the runway of life, we often hear the phrase “An inch of time is worth an inch of gold; yet you can’t buy an inch of time at an inch of gold”, as time is rather precious and the clock cannot be turned back, where it simply vanishes in the tick tock of the clock, constantly wiping out all things occurred in the past, and it does not stop even a little for particularly good things; nevertheless, we see the story scenario as interpreted by the performers who constantly turn back and then turn back again to choose their lives, as their thoughts also endure the conundrum in their minds that seem to revolve around chaos.
If we turn back to examine it from the reality perspective, the most intimate person around you is he, and because of the overlap, so exist the smiles, sorrows and worries, which the performers manifest such sensations through their bodies, an element that can be subtle or untamed. In this world, neither sadness or happiness can be observed or perceived, but requires one to experience on his/her own, in order to comprehend the so-called empathy, which is all just emotion by any name. The blue in her work resembles to a trinket box of the human heart as seen from the black box.
The Taishin Arts Award’s critic
The dance poet Jhu Wei-ting’s “A New Order: The Blue Money”
Author: “the affiliated critic” Chou Ze-mu, 11:23, June 11, 2018
Criticized performance: the 2018 Mending Dance Theater’s Street Dance x Modern Dance [A New Order: The Blue Monday”
Jhu Wei-ting’s work astounds me. For a decade, she enters into a more formal theater venue for the first time, which looks rather befitting! Ever since she is first discovered at the first Taipei Fringe Festival in 2008, National Tsing Hua University economic department graduate, enrolling to study at Taipei National University of the Arts School of Graduate for her passion of dance (but inadvertently at the theoretic section) has continued to debut and launch her own dance troupe …, a girl who traverses along the “dance sector’s” fringes (but has since been more matured), and after seeing roughly six of her works, it has always comes off as a “rebellion” (in her own word) to the “convention” theater. From Guling Street’s little theater, the ruinous architectural college, the International Arts Village, the Lab at the former Songshan Tobacco Plant, the Huwei battery in Dansui … where she consciously, unconsciously, also in forms and storytelling, seem to differ from the facets of the general dance. The current event, which perhaps marks her moving forward to the next phase (which she is conscientious of), marks her attempt to try some fresh perspectives. Perhaps being nominated to the “Newcomers’ New Horizon” in 2016 is also a niche opportunity; perhaps the dance company is becoming more steadfast. At the current event, it combines the modern dance and the street dance. Her dance, at the outset, has been gravitated towards the street dance; in fact, her first work – “The Sea Turtle’s Heatwave” at Guling Street is actually presented in street dance style. Subject matter is something close to her heart: the modern people living at present …, and the little inner voice.
Music give a suspicious atmosphere suspense
This time, she recruits two street dance male dancers, and two dance department girls, and then one boy and girl each of non-theater major. At her “Man ∞ Man Huwei Battery show” at Huwei Battery in 2016, she even recruits elderly women learning to dance; Jhu Wei-ting, as a non-dance major, deals with amazing tact! At the current event, I see that the dancers have performed to be a great unison. Rehearsing from last December to now, coupled with adopting the creative title of “a dance leader” (filled by the two street dance male dancers) (which comes off as a mission-based perception”, she says with a grin, “just as the “Sea Turtle Troops” from then!), where the six young people sharing a common goal on stage elevate an unprecedented solidarity! Right at the outset, with a grand entrance, the six dancers raise their arms forward, in a lineup trooping formation looking like zombies. The music has an element of suspense. At the current staging, music still plays a textural role to the work. Collaborating starting from U.S.-based Mainland composer Bai Sui creating works for the “Man ∞ Man” staged at 2014 International Arts Village based on the storyline and tonality she provides, Jhu Wei-ting then choses and pieces together from the extensive repertories he provides. In a separate segment of each individual dancer’s monologue, she has even recorded on her own a segment of rather remarkable vocalization effect, dubbed to their respective O.S. For that, she has always had the sensitivity and design participation in music and sound.
With the additional challenge of the set at the current performance, Jhu Wei-ting required a large object likened to a bell but not exactly set in the middle of the stage; flaked on two sides with upright and hidden varied tilting light tubes, where each expresses an emotion and a rhythmic lighting method and color. While the lighting design struggles amid the mere darkness in a bedazzling set, adopting a distinguishing approach to highlight the figure’s delicate mindsets and storytelling. When performing at the House 36 rooftop, it is, in fact, unconventionally, and amid the extra overhead and a square stage, it nevertheless successfully conveys the existence of a certain oppression through the uncomplicated devices.
The costumes are realistic yet with an unadulterated touch. The character design encompasses the office worker, bearded man shunning from work, unemployed man with tie-dyed HK shirt, and braided woman burdened by life, long-skirted woman trapped in a treacherous relationship, and short-haired girl projecting a group dance vitality. The work explores the standard working class and what kind of freedom people enjoy? At the start of the dance, when the dancers ask themselves in uniform: What is “Blue”, indeed, poses a worrying trajectory into the subject in a blunt way, while echoing the same uniformed recitation of Q&A at Huwei Battery show. But with the text rapidly transcending to a poetic element, the linguistic texture and ambience orientation gradually become clear, as the work’s texture and characteristics project – by weeding out its surface youthful straightness and the stage element’s loose ends (burs) – which surface gradually. This is what sets Jhu Wei-ting to differ from the others.
Having been a “dream tutor” to her nominated work of the “Soul’s Map” at the “Newcomers’ New Horizon”, I am rather clear of the deficiency in her work. At times too rush, it jumps straightforward. This time, the office worker enacted by Ping-jeh clad in red pants removes the shirt puts himself on a sitting platform erected high by the dances transforming into a lightbox that trembles and twitches …, which strikes me as a transformation needing refinement. With clear-cut information, yet it seems a little rushed on stage. She often deploys the dancers’ vocalization, which perhaps is a form resembling to “persistence”. Yet I have alleviated in the current work the long struggle used to describe her difficulties; perhaps she is also evolving (refining) herself; -- meaning she herself perhaps does not care so much of such … “loose ends”, and not behind able to be fully comprehended. She is a poet. The poetic language, caring intention, the superficial romping in the current staging (the overlapping language, sounds, music, flickering lights, colors, rhythms …), and the performers indeed exist of the limbs, scenes …, which are the focal points. Nonetheless, her works are never about the simplistic fluffs. Previously, involving the society, familial relations …, this time, it focuses on work. Perhaps, as a non-dance major, she invariably tries to achieve much through her dance! She is consistently caring of the humanity.
At the current staging, a few dance segments are rather eye-catching; the street dance has the right touch, and the addition of the modern dance adds a touch of flexibility to the storytelling: i.e. the lone dance by the long-skirted woman in a spotlight, and the emotional subtleness of the two male dancers in the street dance.
Jhu Wei-ting’s works do not follow the ordinary storylines, but they are full of “fantastical” moments. Just as depicted by the segment on Yao Chen-ying as an unemployed man in a moonwalk-style dance move (the O.S.: “I can venture out at any time” and the tidal sound that ensues), or theater actor Lin Fang-fang depicting a braided hair woman who shifts and dances erratically for several minutes amid the Orwellis-styled Bid Ben. The work’s buildup strength stems from how she never shies away of deep thoughts to surpass the dark path. Looking proud and sunny on the surface, Jhu Wei-ting also knows the depth of her inner sanctum. This is what constitutes as the universal value. Her works often contains a certain kind of ceremonial element, such as how the dancers remove their shirts towards the end forming a circle, making what appears to be a vocal exercise, or rather a self-deprecating ridicule giggling together, slumbering on the floor, or which perhaps depicts her own humility.
At the final relatively bright music, the angularly placed light tubes project suddenly enlivening colors, a prerecorded female voice emerges by the ear at last saying: “Don’t worry, ease me down … … will cover me, nurture me, and I would not leave; I am here every day”. The text in her literature campaign – “ponder … major events in life making living less easy”. On the poster, I am partial to the print design that is almost old-school depicting a group of people dancing to an enormous gear …, all faceless! The poem by the side says: “we exchange dialogs on the boat towards the warmth of the homestead for how the youth of yesteryear who had a garden in their hearts or not, shun from the looks of grownups, as they levitate their bodies amid a midsummer night leaving the longlines behind! The next time, if she debuts new works, please go see her, and among the limited audience not good at promoting, all of you perhaps are aware of what I am trying to say!
The youth Performing Art critic Chen Qing-lin’s review
Yi Ya Ya, Ah …
“My dear self, welcome to your inner sanctum’s tiny world! We are very glad to have you join us today, and the subject we are going to discuss is – Monday, so what are we going to do?”
“Monday, yeah! Naturally, you will do better than the last week! Fighting!”
“Howl but stop scolding, but once again ready for the gang rape over five days, which is rather hen tired!”
“Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh! Don’t you all look at me! There are thirty days before the payday, and it really doesn’t matter which weekday it is.”
Rather ridiculously? Rather bemusing? Or Rather maddening? Yet, this is my inner struggle on every Monday, for there is fire in my heart but fearful that I would not be able to have the drive to achieve it, perhaps this is how the term Blue Monday came about!
Coincidentally, I come across the “Mending”, and have also seen their latest work “A New Order: The Blue Monday”, yet the opening segment inadvertently steers me to my inner sanctum and aspires me face up again to these issues.
As people of different ages may view it with different perspectives, the way I see it, it is exactly the true issue that the youth are confronting every day! Every performer in the performance projects one’s inner sanctum’s varied attitudes, regardless whether they be positive or negative, compromises and so forth, much like the human’s inherent emotions yet their dialogs, their dances, their movements have all perfected every kind of emotion, as if reenacting the such kinds of emotions to perfection!
The portion of the music and sound effect brings me right into the scenario, and what I must say is that the serial booster has made the entire performance that much more titillating, as if transcending into it, where the inner emotional drama in gift one has been transformed onto the stage!
But just that, what truly enlightens me as if awakening from a dream, where I am truly moved is the segment in describing how the youth confront the socialization process and their burdens, a segment I perceive should be “an experience of tear welling up when viewing the performance for the first time”, in which it describes the varied pressures the youth confront in the society to be forced to make unconvincing choices against their minds by choosing a lesser evil for the good of the big picture, all for earning the majority people’s recognition, yet assume so with a trying smile at the same time, a segment that still stabs the wound in my heart! Darn!
As a student having studied abroad, and as a member of the youth, I can assimilate personally that on an individual level, after we graduate or at present, we want very much to pursue many varied dreams, an idealistic life, for I want to be a councilman servicing the poor, rallying for their rightful benefits and equity, yet in terms of my burdens, there are my aging parents who have labored for the family for half of their lives, worrying for every little thing in the family, and even if I can solve all these problems, there is more scorn and insinuation coming from the society, reckoning that we are merely daydreaming, detaching from the reality, by simply denying our efforts and reasoning, leaving us only to make the most conservative weighing, which the entire performance is, in fact, able to spot the point and reenact it, which I see it is well worth the trip! The circumstances the youth are in are seen by some after all.
(Ahh, typing out this text record traps me down the road of reminisce!!)
Seeing the entire performance as a whole, I would give it a 99 out of a full score of 10, leaving 1 point out being that I did not hear clearly the onset sound recording, a regretful segment, yet meanwhile when the entire performance is a rather perfection, I dread having to miss it.
While the society needs this type of performance, because it truly leads the audience to reflect on it, I for one have rehashed it in my mind roughly three, four times, as it not only serves to steer the audience to reflect, but more important as a form of soul therapy, leading me/the others to leave the darkness behind and confront all these once again. Truthfully speaking as far as the society is concern, everyone faces significant pressures, and with the society as a whole or the places we live being twisted and distorted day and night, everyone needs a little tender, loving care, or be open to redemption, elevating your performance, your work to be truly important! I envision that I would be able to see Mending devoting to its works on this aspect (leave my ∧∧ aside).
Then I would very much anticipate to see more of Ms. Wei Ting’s work, as I would keep my eye out for it.
September 3 ~ September 11, 2016 at the Tamsui Huwei Battery
Recalling and Reflecting on Echo
Transcribing from the “Par Performing Art Magazine”, Echo issue 286, p.82 (the October issue)
滬尾砲台Man∞ Man 演出行動
A Non-academic Revolution of Passion
All Eyes on Jhu Wei-ting – “The Huiwei Battery’s “Man * Man” performance action”
It is a work Jhu Wei-ting has jointly created with her longtime tutorial guidance subjects – members of the Tamsui Presbyterian Church. Drawing from the daily dialog and experience of a group of moms and their kids to derive the generational communication difficulties and closemindedness, which appears to be sedated and serious when devising such a performance with community members taking part, yet Jhu Wei-ting chooses to manifest it in a friendly and personal approach, thus highlighting a unique solemn ambience.
The Huiwei Battery’s “Man * Man” performaning action
September 3 ~ September 11, 2016 at the Tamsui Huwei Battery
Text – Zhou Zhe-mu, dance critic
Photos courtesy of Mending Dance Theater
From year one of the Fringe, I have noticed choreographer Jhu Wei-ting, who has debuted her work since 2008, formed a dance company, and gotten nominated into the “Newcomers, New Horizon”, and her new work “Man * Man dance performing action”, and from that I feel that she has attempted a few remarkable things: First, her dance work performed at the Huwei Battery; secondly, the insertion of voluminous dialog, script in the dance; thirdly, integrating local community participating in her work; as far as dance is concerned, none of the three appears easy. Yet as a graduate of economics from National Tsing Hua University, Jhu Wei-ting has managed to blend all three in to.
The venue is chosen a dirt mount, a nearby corridor, and by a section of an open-air wall next to the Huwei Battery, flanked by carpet-like trees and grass. I have seen a few performances at Huwei Battery, yet I have never found out that the Huwei Battery can be seen with such simple dilapidation. Set to open at five P.M. on the afternoon of each day, rays of the remaining light before the sunset divides the day and night. Four neutral bathtubs derived from her earlier work, the “Fix”, appear on stage, scattering around in their enormity, echoing a primal existentialism; underneath the black turpentine exposes the battery’s unadulterated boulders, depicting a primordial savagery. The dancers appear from the tubs, folks and members of the audience are invited onto the stage for a Q&A dialog on “Are you a thoughtful child?”
Projecting an air of unique solemnity in the ambience
It is a work Jhu Wei-ting has jointly created with her longtime tutorial guidance subjects – members of the Tamsui Presbyterian Church. Drawing from the daily dialog and experience of a group of moms and their kids to derive the generational communication difficulties and closemindedness, which appears to be sedated and serious when devising such a performance with community members taking part, yet Jhu Wei-ting chooses to manifest it in a friendly and personal approach, thus highlighting a unique solemn ambience. When the invitees rush to telling freely that they are not “a thoughtful child”, the dancers cladded in nude fabric, who seemingly continuing with their routine dialog, suddenly hang a few simple placards, depicting the “mother”, “son”, and “father”, enacting on a role-conflicting quasi-dramatic performance, yet the movements progress with a strong dance beat, some exhibiting an extension of the phrases, and others in a monolog, suggestive bodily expression … occasionally remerging from the tubs, suggesting the tubs as their caves a primal yearning, a sense of belonging. Music designer Peng Yen-sheng brings in a magical touch to the music, the dance mentor is invited by unknown Jhu Wei-ting, and him, as a musician prolific in ambience music, has responded to the choreographer’s request, in creating many what Jhu Wei-ting refers to as a “theme-oriented” dynamic music, laced with trepidation, inwardness, tremble … the very attributes found in Jhu Wei-ting’s works, whilst she has been managing to find her own music her dance work before this.
With hit phrases manifesting in the dialog on stage, be it the family relations, social anticipation, youth ideology …, being the “boss”, the “employee” and similar meaning placards in insinuation and conversation to reflect an age approaching chaos and disorder, the work takes a sudden turn venturing into yet another domain – a section of closed off corridor nearby, where through the twist and turn of the corridor, Jhu Wei-ting finds another realm. With the autumnal sun still radiating the sweltering heat, three female and two male dances, reflecting on dancer Li Shao-lu’s work, are lit up, amid the pit cut out of the boulders laid simply with black turpentine, thus deriving a perfect set. Accompanied by Peng Yeh-sheng’s deep-rooting music, the dancers venture further back to the primordial mode, concocting Jhu’s work with a touch distinct meditative thoughts, fancifulness. She lets the dancers recite again the symbolic phrases, and also derive the loops from the phrases, further transcending the musical rhythm and the dance movements with further refinement and manifestation. Later pursued dance critic study, Jhu Wei-ting holds more professional credentials, after choreographing the “Man * Man” series. The work exhibits significant aesthetics, and prolongs the elements of the earlier movements.
Showcasing a dynamic revolutionary ambition
With ample exuberating passion found among the participating group volunteers, it highlights a camaraderie manifesting as a big family. The crew enthusiastically turn on the electric fans nearby rather stealthily, fearing of the encroaching heat, Jhu Wei-ting manning the music on her own steers everyone to move onto the next realm, knowingly or unknowingly the uninterrupted music is as spellbindingly moving as her electric cord …
Moving from the humid corridor to an open-air outdoor space, the audiences shift their eyes adjusting to the horizon. Finding a favorite spot to put down their chairs, under the tree, the professional dancers and the everyday folks, moms and grandmas (pardon my expression) paired up dance to the in-tune (synchronous) beat. Finding the music on her own, which I refer to as the Nanou Circus tune, imbued with a sorrowful humoresque tune (which in fact is created by grassroots musician born and raised in Taiwan). With moms and grands twisting at ease, the job is quite done as long as they keep to the formation! At last, it once again returns to the very outset of the “dirt-mount stage”. When the audience arrives, the dancers are already donned in everyday street clothes, reuniting with the group of interns and elders on stage who they spend many hours a day together, boasting a commanding scene! The music also appears somewhat New Age. With dusk closing in, five pairs of performers stand face to face, reciting: “Come, put your hands on the walls of the room, and sense what you feel?”, which steers and touches. “The wrinkles on his face, the fine hair, you embody all such”. Friends of the performers have been invited on stage, as the work reaches the climax, amid the smoothing evening breeze.
This is a dance composition that entails more than public participation, and also a smart use of the battery’s rustic and barren elements. With the goodwill of the moms and grands, the usual attires, appearances, it is yet a dance work that criticizes stringently on social selfies, the lack of communication …, yet plays the words, sounds, music, visual iconography with abandonment, whimsical extent. This is a mindlessly miss out on promotional tickets of the current month’s program at the National Theater and Concert Hall dance work in Tamsui “grassroots” performing, I have seen the passion and ambition of a flaring quasi-revolution!
曼丁身體劇場邀大家跳舞 - 新北市政府文化局 - 曼∞曼
作者： 【記者潘鴻志、潘昱帆／新北報導】 | 台灣新生報 – 2015年5月27日 上午12:00
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2013《灶‧心》入選Guling Street Avant-Garde Theatre 2013最佳年度節目
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