Dance Meets the Organ
Written by CHOU Shu-yi Weiwuying Artist-In-Residence
How should an art and culture center be understood? How should performing arts be promoted? What is the Weiwuying Concert Hall like? Have you ever attended a live pipe organ performance here? If not, and if you are unsure of what it really means to experience a music performance here, you might try out the organ tour. A general introduction of the instrument and the concert hall will be accompanied by a performance to give you not only theoretical knowledge but an actual experience of art in action within the space.
With the One Minute VR Stage app we created last year as a result of the effects of Covid, I became acquainted with Taiwanese organist LIU Hsin-hung and invited him to give a solo performance at the empty Concert Hall, which was recorded with VR technology by the Digital Art Center, Taiwan. With a VR background, people were able to blend the music into videos they had made, creating an animated dance between the video-maker and the music within the virtual world. After that, LIU invited me on one of his pipe organ tours at Weiwuying, and I immediately accepted because I wanted to not only continue with our rare cooperative challenge but also, more importantly, not miss an opportunity to promote the performing arts. A live performance is the most direct way to allow people to experience art up close. It is the thing I most look forward to during my time here as well as something that many artists in southern Taiwan are working hard to achieve so as to share art more frequently through more diversified means.
The organ is an aerophone, so for someone in the field of dance like me, it breathes. It is just like a huge living organism, relying on breathing to move about, though its movements are expressed as sound. The first time I heard it live, I felt as if the sound were both penetrating and surrounding my body, and my body moved with it. Since the instrument is connected to its surrounding environment, when people are listening to it here, the resonant sound it produces truly flows throughout the space. It is invisible, but you certainly feel it. To me, this is the organ's most alluring aspect.
LIU selected three songs for our cooperation: Ravel's (1875-1973) “Pavane for a Dead Princess,” Bach's (1685-1750) “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,” and Piazzolla's (1921-1992) “Oblivion,” the three having been written at different times over three centuries. The first exhibits what commonly comes to mind when one thinks of music for dance, the second was written for religious purposes, and the third is a commentary on the push and pull of different human emotions. Of these three composers, only Bach was an organist. None of the pieces was written for the organ, so our interpretation has an added sense of wonder, and I am pleased to have been able to interpret it through dance. I sometimes take little walks by the organ, which is on the second floor of the Concert Hall, and then go up onto the stage and look up at the light and stairs in front of me, imagining how the music produces a sense of hope, and then, as the last beam of light remains, we face the reality of human nature and get past the darkness together. My interpretation is from the angle of dance, and though it is not the composers' intended meaning of the music, the realm of performing arts is full of creativity as everyone's life experiences and realizations are different. I hope to see you at the Concert Hall, and if I am performing that day, you will see me too!
Top Hash Tags
You May Also Like
Drama is revolutionary
German theater director Thomas OSTERMEIER and popular young French writer Édouard LOUIS joining forces is the perfect choice that was clearly meant to be.
Love for God and Homeland—A Musical Gift of CHEN Su-ti
Son of the gifted CHEN Ying-lin, CHEN Su-ti was full of talent. And with the large stature and hands characteristic of his family, he advanced with great speed. Over time, the music he produced ceased being just Western and started exhibiting his own unique ideas.