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County News
Don’t Let Nepartak Get You Down, Taitung! Cloud Gate Dance Theater Holds Free Outdoor Performance in Tribute to Courage of Taitung
Date: 2016-07-17    
It was an extremely touching night filled with continual applause!

The Cathay Arts Festival and Cloud Gate Dance Theater held a free outdoor performance at the Taitung County Stadium on the evening of July 16. This served as a form of encouragement for the people of Taitung, who have been very busy since the typhoon hit. The Cloud Gate performance was the first big event since the disaster. Touched beyond measure, the 8,000 spectators enjoyed and applauded endlessly for the dancers.

Taitung County Magistrate Justin Huang’s wife Phoebe Chen stated that Taitung has already gotten through the first phase of cleanup and restoration after the typhoon, allowing locals to get back to their normal lives. The performance by Cloud Gate, a solo concert by Zeng Yu-qian at the Taitung Art and Culture Center, and the hot air balloon night glow concert in Zhiben that evening showed that Taitung is already back on its feet. Chen thanked all those around Taiwan who have assisted as well as those who have come to Taitung to offer firsthand support.

Wu Lang-ru from Cathay Life stated that this performance had been arranged a year before, and even though Nepartak caused complications, Cathay Life and Cloud Gate did not cancel, instead seeing the event as a way to offer encouragement to the people of Taitung.

Lin Hwai-min of Cloud Gate stated that he was moved by Taitung residents remaining brave and optimistic in the face of Nepartak’s destruction. He said that a lot of people have said to him, “Compared to other people, our family and home are in good shape; when everyone works together, we can overcome difficulties.” People from indigenous villages have even joked, “Our roof went off to hang out with the typhoon.” Lin said he admires and loves dearly the optimism and courage of the people of Taitung. He hopes that when Taiwan encounters trouble in the future, people will remember the courage with which the people of Taitung faced Nepartak.

Lin also stated that besides a bit of debris that has not yet been removed, the face of Taitung City looks almost as great as if it had never been hit. He invited all to applaud the effort of the military and the thousands of volunteers from all over Taiwan who helped with the relief effort. The people of Taitung worked eight hard days to rebuild, and Lin said he hoped that the outdoor performance would allow everyone to relax and be refreshed with new energy to continue their work.

Cloud Gate performed a fast-tempo piece called “White Water”, which was inspired by the surging waters of the Liwu River in Hualien. They also performed “Rice”, which was full of color and inspired by the scenery in Chishang. The audience could hardly stop applauding.

During the intermission, a member of the Cloud Gate team led everyone in a bit of exercise to relax. Then, a person in the audience surnamed Wang, who had attended a Cloud Gate outdoor performance 15 years ago and has since founded the Taitung Care for Caregivers Association, shared, “That year, Cloud Gate performed ‘Water and Moon’, and there had also been a typhoon before the performance. It really is poetic. It seems that Cloud Gate has a sort of destiny with typhoons, and it helps us get through obstacles. It shows the courage of the people here after a typhoon. We, the people of Taitung, are really good at casting off the shadow of disaster.”

After the curtain call, the dancers applauded together and yelled out in unison, “Keep it up, Taitung!” In a touching moment, the audience replied with a thunderous applause and the same sentiment: “Keep it up, Taitung! Keep it up!”

Cloud Gate will perform “White Water” and “Dust” in Taipei at the National Theater and Concert Hall plaza on July 23.
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