FreeSteps is a ten-years-choreography- project initiated by SU Wei-chia since 2013. The project is aiming to explore the most primitive status of dance and to re-explore the possibilities of dancing. The proposition in FreeSteps, is how choreography can be simply and persistently about the body, especially in today’s world. The practice of SU Wei-chia, is to peel off various layers of body characteristics and textures within set limitations –very often not repeating previous FreeSteps. It takes time, in many cases a long relationship between SU Wei-chia and the dancer, to shape, to massage, and to sculpture the movements and physicality.
Under a street lamp, freely encounter withFreeSteps.
SU Wei-chia: “Believing what you see with your own eyes makes everything very simple.”
FreeSteps–NiNi is SU Wei-chia’s work at the sixth year in his ten-years-choreography-project, in which he walks out of the theater and comes near you and me. It means that you will encounter dancers under a street lamp in the city, where all of the elements, including the temperature, lighting and landscape at that time as well as people like us in the surroundings, become materials for the dancers’ creation. Their physical bodies may be stretching or curling up or dancing in merriment or in pains. The variation of physical quality, the revolving of dancing steps, and shadows on the bodies left by light all contribute to shaping a physical sculpture.
The FreeSteps series sets out to look for the purest essence because it brings forth the most delightful freedom. It has neither anything to do with goals, concepts and allusions, nor anything to do with overly precise and delicate arrangements. Let’s get rid of fixed imagination, expectation and assumption because it is simply a struggle between dancing steps and physical bodies. Please bring along with you the courage to let imagination run freely and expect to encounter the pure touching moment that belongs to nobody but you at the minute of inspiration.
Words from the Choreographer
Narrated by SU Wei-chia; Written by CHENG Hao
I serve for bodies but not for topics.
When we spread and open up our arms, what is it? When we huddle up and coil our bodies, what is it? Twisting arms, what is it? Twined legs, what is it?
I name those “postures” of physical bodies as “shapes.” I think shapes are the origin of everything—the beginning of dance. Shapes incorporate lines, muscles, bones, postures, and gestures. The way of our existence is a shape. By piling shapes on one after another, movements are thus born.
A simple movement—such as taking a step forward or raising an arm—may hold infinite shapes inside. It’s like continuously playing 30 frames of pictures per second to form a film. Each of the pictures forms a shape, while more pictures can derive from the space between two pictures. The more in-depth details a performer explores and senses in thinking over how this shape moves to the next shape, the richer details will be achieved by expanding one fleeting moment.
Usually, I am most fascinated and attracted by shapes that are “burning.” In the maneuver of such shapes, a dancer has to fight against his/her body, such as fighting against human physical limits, muscles, bones, joints, physical capacities and gravity, as well as challenging the most difficult movements. In such fighting, they do their best to reach the goal and to burn themselves. Eventually, they can no more hide their heavy breaths and sweats by hanging on the edge of extremity, but have to reveal the most genuine appearance of human beings’ existence without any concealing.
Some shapes are common and familiar in our daily lives and they seem to have established definitions, but some don’t. For example, waving a hand can convey various possible meanings but they are easily recognizable by their contexts. However, some uncommon movements, such as raising a leg or twisting the body as if twisting a towel, are much rarer and thus stranger. How are we going to read those shapes that are difficult to define?
In a known and familiar context, it’s probably easier for us to feel the performers’ human nature, emotions, feelings and desires. In an unknown and unfamiliar context, what we feel may be just abstract lines, colors, various existences in the nature as well as the transformation of textures.
The two of them co-exist and complement each other.
A shape of opening up arms may be a joyful person but may also be a growing tree. A posture of huddling up may be a lonely and sad person but may also be a stone that is unchanging since times immemorial.
In FreeSteps, the shape is defined by each of the audiences. You only have to be courage enough to embrace your own feelings as naturally as tasting a dish and deciding whether it is delicious or not. I believe everyone should have their own unique response upon seeing the same shape as it triggers different switches and different feelings based on the life experience of each individual. Therefore the shape itself is self-defined. There are neither signs nor symbols in FreeSteps, but only the existence and transformation of those shapes as well as the sentiments that await being triggered and tasted.
FANG Yu-ting, Dancer
Born in Kaohsiung and graduated from the Dance Department of National Taiwan University of Arts, FANG Yu-ting joined the Cloud Gate soon after her graduation and participated in such productions as Portrait Of The Families, How Can I Live on Without You and Nine Songs. Since 2015, she has joined HORSE as a dancer and rehearsal director, and is currently one of the main dancers in the productions of SU Wei-chia’s FreeSteps series. In 2017, she took part in Retime choreographed and directed by CHOU Shu-yi, the opening program for the the reopening of the National Theater in celebration of its 30th anniversary, as well as in CHEN Wu-kang’s One Dance, One Dances, One Danced in the NTCH Innovation Series of Dance. In the same year, she also joined the production of The Time Between Two Mistakes by Belgium’s Needcompany in the Taiwan International Festival of Arts. She has acted as an instructor in workshops of the NTCH Outreach program to promote modern dance in recent years and a movement instructor for the filming of the NELKEN-Line project of the Pina Bausch Foundation in 2018.
SU Wei-chia, Choreographer
SU Wei-chia was born in Kaohsiung. He graduated from the National Academy of Arts and was inspired by Prof. WU Su-fen during his studies. He co-founded HORSE with CHEN Wu-kang, YANG Yu-ming, CHOU Shu-yi, CHIEN Hua-bao, and CHENG Tsung-lung in 2004. He has created/co-created/performed in M\dans, Stairs, Velocity (winner of the Performing Award category of the 6th Annual Taishin Arts Awards), Bones, Growing Up, MDans 2010, I, Successor I, II, III, 2 Men (winner of the first place of the 2013 Kurt-Joos-Preis), 3 Men on a HORSE, and Playdead. Accepting an invitation from Eliot Feld, the distinguished American choreographer, SU Wei-chia was a part of Feld’s troupe from 2009 to 2013. Zeppo: an Intermission in 3 Acts was tailor-made for him during this period. He was the Artist-in-Residence of the NTCH in 2016. SU Wei-chia began his choreographic work on the FreeSteps series in the last part of 2013. Work on this series is still ongoing. Its performance at Avignon CDC- Les Hivernales was acclaimed with FreeSteps being described as “a succession of shocks that drive the imagination into obscure and delicious depths. (“FreeSteps est une succession de chocs qui entraînent l’imagination dans d'obscures et délicieuses profondeurs.”)
Yannick Dauby, Sound Design
Born in 1974 in the Mediterranean Alps, France. Living and working in Taiwan since 2007. His sound practice was initiated around 1996, studying tape music (musique concrète in French): discovery of the physicality of the magnetic tape, vertigo-inducing analog synthesis and acousmatic pleasures. However, it's outdoor that things really started. He began working with field recording in 1998, during a travel in a distant country, capturing fragments of environments, urban situations, animal signals and unusual acoustic phenomenas, his favorite materials, sometimes published as phonographies, or providing some montage elements for musical compositions or some audio documentaries, those being recently focusing on traditional cultures and local communities.
On stage, improvisation mainly with recorded sounds, found objects, modular synthesizer and computer. Regular collaborations with other sound artists, doing soundtrack for contemporary dance (since 2007 with HORSE) or in association with visual artists (such as the creations about landscape with TSAI Wan-shuen) and doing sound design for film (experimental, documentary) and public space (public art). With sound installation, he is experimenting the perception of acoustic spaces, especially in architecture. His active discography includes personal compositions, documentations of performances, and selected phonographies. His recent works are creating dialogues between animals’ sounds (amphibians, bats, birds) and electronics, spreading from electroacoustic compositions to real-time systems.
Fascinated by anthropology, ethnography and natural sciences, notably bioacoustics and ethology, he often wanders into these domains in collaboration with naturalists or during community-based projects in Taiwan in Hakka or aborigine villages, notably in collaboration with TSAI Wan-shuen, or in urban communities of Taipei. Plans for the next years include more exploration sessions of the island through artistic activities and sound documentation as well as teaching actions (workshops, conferences a bit everywhere in Taiwan and lecturing at National Taiwan University since 2011).
Finding the step in an ecstasy of joy.
The logo of HORSE is a Chinese character made of three horses, indicating the strong motivation, explosive energy. Founded in December 2004, HORSE has established a distinctive profile with delicate physical movements and unrestricted creativities. The unique and collaborative style brings the current generation beyond the standard frame of stage performances.
The artistic policy of HORSE is to provide a platform for the creative expression of Taiwan’s dance artists. By regularly staging works of Taiwanese choreographers as well as commissioning international artists to set pieces on the company, HORSE aims to create a fertile ground for mutual stimulation and to establish a repertoire of “changeable”, “multi- faceted” and “diverse” styles.
Organizer: National Theater and Concert Hall
Production Team: HORSE
◎Approx. 40 minutes without intermission
◎The program is subject to change
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