Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan perform Lunar Halo at Sadler’s Wells


Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan returns to Sadler’s Wells Theatre this autumn with the UK premiere of Lunar Halo, a collaboration with Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós, choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung. The company, founded in 1973, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and these are the first UK performances since 13 Tongues/Dust in 2020. Preview Feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Cheng took over from company founder Lin Hwai-Min in 2020, and this is the 2nd time he has toured the company to Sadler’s Wells. As a child, he sold slippers on the streets of Taipei. His experiences of street life and folk and religious cultures have shaped his choreographic style, known for its vivid engagement with the richness and diversity of human experience. 

Cheng first observed a lunar halo – a sparkling ring around the moon – in the sky over Iceland. The phenomenon is said to predict an impending storm and, on a deeper level, forebodes a time of considerable change.

In Lunar Halo, Cheng explores the changes that are shaping the world, in particular our reliance on new technology. Performing to an other-worldly soundtrack by Sigur Rós, the dancers interact with each other – in pairs, groups, or as an ensemble in front of huge LED screens filled with moving shapes, colours, and images. The soundscape includes music taken from the band’s back catalogue, which has been twisted, bent, broken, and added to, specially for this performance. Sigur Rós released an LP to accompany the performance called 22° Lunar Halo.

Visual design and direction is by Jam Wu, lighting design is by Shen Po-hung, video design is by Ethan Wang, and costume design is by Chen Shao-yen.

A post-rock titan, Sigur Rós has been renowned for crafting ethereal soundscapes with melodic, classical, experimental, and minimalist elements and has received many accolades since its debut in 1994. Released in 1998, the band’s second album, ‘Ágætis Byrjun’ is still deemed “the last great album of the 20th Century.” by Q Magazine. They are well known for the iconic song ‘Hoppípolla’ (‘Jumping into Puddles’) which featured in the BBC’s Planet Earth and Planet Earth Two.

Cloud Gate Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung said, “Sadler’s Wells stage has a magical power that has always drawn me into the world of dance. Following the pandemic, I’m really looking forward to visiting London in our 50th anniversary year, and I hope that Lunar Halo shows the audience a different side to Cloud Gate.”

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