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Water Stains on the Wall offers dance in a fluid hand

A calligraphy-influenced work by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

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Along with Eastern and Western forms of movement, the members of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan study calligraphy. If that seems outlandish, consider the confidence and fluidity, the nuance and control of a master calligrapher's hand moving over the page. Cloud Gate dancers express that same ease and authority in their bodies. Calligraphy also influences choreographer Lin Hwai-min: the hour-long, 2010 work for 14 that Cloud Gate is performing here, Water Stains on the Wall, gets its title from a calligraphers' in-joke about beauty evolving over time. Danced on a slightly raked stage, Water Stains is dominated by an angular island of light whose contours blur and shift as shadows like those of ragged clouds pass over it. The dancers' movement might be grounded and glacial, almost imperceptible, or it might be quick and airborne, but it's always breathtaking. Toshio Hosokawa's eerie score tortures the sounds of traditional Chinese instruments into bizarre contemporary shapes.

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