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Lin Hwai-min's latest creation depicts life cycles of rice and man through dance (with photos)

     Internationally renowned choreographer Lin Hwai-min will stage his latest production, "RICE", in Hong Kong this week. Inspired by the captivating paddy fields in Taiwan's Chihshang, the dance epic is a remarkable tribute to the land and nature, and also celebrates the 40th anniversary of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. The production pairs breathtaking images with a poignant view of seasonal life to touch the heart.

     Lin Hwai-min has many representative works, including "Legacy" and "Songs of the Wanderers". For this return to the theme of rice, Lin and his Cloud Gate dancers spent two years weeding, transplanting and harvesting with farmers in Chihshang, which has been referred to as the "home of rice". A videographer also spent two years capturing the scene there to create the beautiful imagery that brings the four seasons of a paddy field spectacularly to life on stage.

     Accompanied by images of expansive fields of rice swaying in the wind, the sound of traditional Hakka folk songs and classical music, Cloud Gate dancers weave evocatively through eight cyclical stages involved in rice cultivation: "Soil", "Wind", "Pollen I", "Pollen II", "Sunlight", "Grain", "Fire" and "Water". This sublime work offers audiences an elemental depiction of the life cycles of rice and man through dance.

     Lin Hwai-min created the first modern dance company in Chinese communities with his Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan in 1973. It was followed by Cloud Gate 2 in 1999, with the mission of grooming young choreographers and giving outreach performances in rural towns and on campuses. Lin often draws his inspiration from traditional Asian culture and aesthetics to create works with contemporary resonance.

     Lin has received numerous honours and accolades. He has been celebrated by Time magazine as one of the "Asian Heroes". In July 2013, he was presented with the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, an honour that he has shared with dance legends of the world such as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch. He was the first Asian to receive this honour.

     "RICE" is one of the programmes of the New Vision Arts Festival (NVAF). It will be held from November 6 to 8 at 8.15pm and on November 9 at 3pm at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre. Tickets priced at $480, $380, $280 and $180 are now available at URBTIX. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Other booking discounts of up to 20 per cent are available for full-price tickets of NVAF performing arts programmes.

     A meet-the-artist session will be held after the performance on November 6. In addition, a pre-performance appreciation talk to be conducted in Cantonese will be held on November 9 at 2.30pm at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Level 4 Foyer. In this 30-minute pre-show talk, dance critic Joanna Lee will talk about the impact of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's captivating creativity. Admission is free. Limited seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

     The NVAF, organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, is running from October 16 to November 16, showcasing an array of innovative and outstanding performances that cross cultural and disciplinary borders. Programme brochures are available at URBTIX outlets or at the festival website

     For programme enquiries, please call 2370 1044. Internet bookings can be made at Telephone credit card bookings can be made on 2111 5999.

Ends/Monday, November 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:15


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