“Wild Cursive” is the third piece of Taiwanese dancer and choreographer Lin Hwai-min's Cursive trilogy, a captivating series translating the development of the fascinating art form of Chinese calligraphy into dance. As Lin says himself, the final part marks the climax of the trilogy, because it corresponds to the completely detached, free and highly abstract forms of “spontaneous” calligraphy. The performance contains elements of Tai Chi and is musically accompanied by compositions by Jim Shum and Liang Chun-mei. The performance was recorded in 2009 at the National Theater in Taipei, Taiwan.
Cursive is a breath-taking, perception-altering work, a masterpiece of form and feeling… These are performers who can make stillness every bit as eloquent as animation.
The Chicago Sun Times was not the only reviewer to comment so favourably on the first part of the trilogy, which is being performed here on three dance-filled evenings: the first and only performance in Europe. Characteristic of this great work, which shows Lin Hwai-min at the height of his creative powers, is its concentrated silence, images of poetic beauty and continually flowing movements, in an encounter between meditation, tai chi tao yin (a type of chi kung) and the martial arts.
The three pieces uniquely capture the development of that fascinating art form, calligraphy. Lin Hwai-min describes the first part as a serious work concretely related to its origins. The dancers experience the kinetic energy arising during the act of calligraphy writing and follow the diverse ink flows. In Cursive II, the choreographer himself becomes a painter and the dancers' bodies calligraphic symbols. Lin describes the third evening of Wild Cursive as being the climax of this development, because it is there that all structure vanishes and dance appears as pure improvisation. It corresponds to the completely detached, free and highly abstract forms of “spontaneous” calligraphy.
Each part of Cursive: ATrilogy stands alone as a grandiose, self-contained work. Even so, its full aesthetic dimension becomes more apparent in the context of the whole. With the breathtaking beauty of his choreographies, Lin Hwai-min, who founded the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan in 1973 as the first and, meanwhile, the most important contemporary company in Asia, has conquered a unique position within Asian modern dance.