Asia’s leading contemporary dance company, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, will return to Chicago with "Songs of the Wanderers," and unprecedented collaborative dance production co-presented by The Dance Center of Columbia College, The Auditorium Theatre and Joffrey Ballet.

A masterpiece of imagination, founder and director Lin Hwai-min’s “Songs of the Wanderers” was inspired by the wealth of religious practices throughout Asia and Herman Hesse’s account of Siddhartha’s quest for enlightenment. A visually stunning paean to spiritual pilgrimage, the piece transforms ancient rites into mesmerizing dance theater. The blend of Eastern and Western dance styles result in startlingly beautiful images, with absolute focus and control by the performers, all set to soulful Georgian folk songs. The scenic design includes an astonishing three and a half tons of shimmering golden grains of rice that shower down on the stage throughout the piece.

As part of Cloud Gate’s residency, a post-performance conversation with the artists will take place March 16, and a senior member of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will participate in The Dance Center's DanceMakers series, which features leading contemporary dance artists offering insight into their choreographic process. The event will take place on Monday, March 10, 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. In celebration of The Dance Center's 40th season, DanceMakers sessions are free. Preregistration is required by visiting colum.edu/dancecenter/performances/dancemakers.

According to legend, Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China, a ritual dance of some 5,000 years ago. In 1973, internationally renowned choreographer Lin Hwai-min adopted this classical name for the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese-speaking community: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. Cloud Gate's rich repertoire has its roots in Asian myths, folklore and aesthetics, but it brings to those age-old beliefs and stories a contemporary and universal perspective. The 24 dancers of the company receive training from the West and the East, including Tai Chi Tao Yin (an ancient form of Chi Kung), meditation, martial arts, modern dance, ballet and calligraphy. With frequent appearances at international arts festivals, including the Next Wave Festival, Cloud Gate has received high acclaim across the globe.

Alphawood Foundation is the lead sponsor of Cloud Gate’s Chicago presentation of "Songs of the Wanderers," which is a co-presentation of The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and The Joffrey Ballet. Additional funding is provided by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

Performances are March 14 at 7:30 p.m. and 16 at 3 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway.
Cloud Gate Dance Theater in "Songs of the Wanderer" (photo courtesy of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre).

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Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Returns with
Vivid "Songs"

Co-presented by The Dance Center of Columbia College, Auditorium Theatre and Joffrey Ballet

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