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Bolero in Kaohsiung interview

Bolero in Kaohsiung interview

by Mavis YUE

General and Artistic Director CHIEN Wen-pin: 

Weiwuying's First Attempt at Bringing a Performing Arts Event to the Public on Their Turf

Bolero in Kaohsiung Was Bound to Happen

Weiwuying General and Artistic Director CHIEN Wen-pin says, "From the day that CHOU Shu-yi agreed to be a resident artist here at Weiwuying, we knew that 1875 Ravel and Bolero would become another beautiful part of the local scenery!" Weiwuying is especially attentive to the openness and cultural equality of art, as exemplified by its public piano in the Banyan Plaza, which allows anyone to enjoy the feeling of being an artist for a few minutes. And now, with CHOU's Bolero in Kaohsiung (the new name for this year's revival of 1875 Ravel and Bolero), anyone can experience dance up close.


Dance Making Its Way into People's Hearts

According to CHIEN, "Covid has had a major impact on people's ability to view performing arts. Since the outbreak began, the only project we've had is Weiwuying 365+ Dance because it went online and was thus unaffected. After the extended lack of live shows, now that Covid has significantly subsided here, we thought the time was ripe for CHOU's Boléro-inspired piece to make its way to the streets of Kaohsiung." 


Weiwuying's First Attempt at Bringing a Performing Arts Event to the Public on Their Turf

CHIEN continues, "Everything from start to finish about organizing the event has been a first! To figure out the feasibility for the show at each venue, CHOU spent days out on his motorbike to check out the venues firsthand." There is a vast difference between being a resident artist assigned to an entire city (which CHOU is) and simply being assigned to a single performing arts center. CHOU has had to visit numerous places to find suitable venues for the show's 28 performances based on his professional understanding of what is required. CHIEN explains, "The profundity of Boléro is in the way its melody continually repeats with the addition of another instrumental family with each new cycle. It's very similar to how we promote art. We hope everyone who has come to one of the performances will come together to enjoy the final one at Weiwuying to experience the sum total of the energy produced by each of the 28 performances held across 14 districts."


Boléro a la Kaohsiung

The music and core aspects of the choreography will be the same as in the old performance. The dancers, consisting of Kaohsiung locals and students from the dance class at Tsoying Senior High School, are being prepared by CHOU for their journey to public spaces and up-close interaction with audiences around Kaohsiung. CHIEN suggests that "after this summer, Boléro just might become a pronoun for performances brought out to the public by Weiwuying!" And maybe there will be a second version that goes to new venues. He remarks in conclusion, "Anywhere people can go, we can go too!"


Resident Artist CHOU Shu-yi: 

If every piece of art has a great mission, Bolero in Kaohsiung's is to bring dance to new audiences!

Return to Kaohsiung After 16 Years

Sharing photos of the past performances of 1875 Ravel and Bolero on social media has awakened memories. Those who saw it at such places as Bopiliao in Taipei, the Temple of Confucius in Puli, and Tiehua Village in Taitung have expressed how much they are looking forward to its Kaohsiung debut (renamed Bolero in Kaohsiung) this summer. It will be performed 28 times among the city's 14 districts. As the piece was created in 2006 at the Young Asian Choreographer Camp in Kaohsiung, doing the show in Kaohsiung this year holds special meaning for its choreographer, CHOU Shu-yi.


Bolero for Everyone

The clever arrangement of the dancers is key, as they are just steps away from the audience, in maintaining the overall feeling of watching a stage performance.  In a documentary of previous performances, one member of the audience shouts, "I hope you guys take this show all over Taiwan!" CHOU says the piece is of maximum significance for him and has held a special place in his heart for years because it brought him to the streets of 14 cities where he was in direct contact with his audiences, and based on their feedback, he could see how dance inspires unlimited imagination.


CHOU's Absolute Number One

The youthful spirit and brilliant color of the piece, with its multi-sensory experience of beautiful colors, classical music, extensive scope of emotion, and lavish sense of movement, are precisely what give it the capacity to truly touch first-time viewers of a dance performance. The atmosphere of the piece transformed in subtle ways in accordance with changes in venue, so people could not help but want to go to each showing. Some have questioned whether Bolero in Kaohsiung is an old piece, but CHOU does not agree, because as long as there are those who have yet to see it, it is new and still has the capacity to produce unexpected wonder.


The Old and the New In Kaohsiung

CHOU frequently mentions "the old and the new" when talking about Bolero in Kaohsiung. Unlike this year, no costumes were designed for the performances years ago. Instead, CHOU took a look inside his mother's closet and simply selected colorful dresses and outfits whose hues carried that sense of purity of the old days and the vitality of life, which he felt correspond well to the laughter, anger, and sorrow in both the piece and life. As for this year's venues, CHOU thought about what kinds of spaces people of this era would like. New restaurants? Perhaps, but old spaces are vehicles of past experiences, which makes them beautiful too and allows viewers to enjoy a sweet feeling of nostalgia. After visiting and gaining an understanding of the potential venues and then making selections, he looks forward to exhibiting these interesting spaces and giving them new significance through the performance. A final connection between the old and the new is that the show traveled to 14 cities in the past, and it will now travel to 14 districts in Kaohsiung.



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Bolero in Kaohsiung



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