PuSh 2018: The Eternal Tides - Legend Lin Dance Theatre

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

The Eternal Tides | Legend Lin Dance Theatre | PuSh International Performing Arts Festival | Queen Elizabeth Theatre | February 3, 2018

Covering sweeping eternal themes of love, war, rebirth, and the passage of time, Taiwanese choreographer Lin Lee-Chen has created a meditative and monumental work with The Eternal Tides. At two hours and 15 minutes, with no intermission, it was an intense immersion into this often slow, deliberate style of dance that is so different from anything we tend to see on our stages.

Perhaps it was the length of the program or perhaps it was the slow and often repetitive quality of the work, but many audience members left during the performance. Not only was this rude and disrespectful to the company, but I didn’t understand the motivation to leave during this beautiful work of art.

Not only is Lee-Chen interested in creating interesting patterns of movement, but she has a fascination with fabrics and incorporates them into her works. She also paints beautiful imagery with her combination of slow movement, grand sets and costumes, and timeless themes. Lee-Chen’s favourite props, long stems of dried silver grass, were featured in a couple of sequences, their frayed ends waving.   

The show opened with huge white sheets draping down over the stage, and they slowly rose to reveal a dancer laying centre stage. Dressed in all white, including a chalky make-up on her face, she began pulsing to the beat of the large drums being played at either side of the stage. Gradually she rose to standing, all the while pulsing in a circular motion, whipping her long black hair in huge arcs. Her perpetual motion was impressive as she continued this pattern of movement far longer than you would think possible, her energy and determination seemed endless.

The focus in Lee-Chen’s dance is not on virtuosic displays of athleticism and grandiose movement, but on ritualistic sequences and meditative movement that creates beautiful landscapes and allows the audience to take in each scene completely. Some moments were so slow moving that it seemed as if the dancers were still. This is not an easy feat, and these dancers showed an impressive level of strength and control.

Some scenes were ritualistic with a tribal element, and one scene in particular involved ten dancers stomping and chanting as they moved around the stage waving the tall grasses and evoking a battle. After this burst of energy and speed, the evening ended on a solemn note, the cast carrying candles and slowly walking downstage as the curtain came down.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn