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London, Moscow and the Kids of Chishang: Lin Hwai-min Reflects on His Years with Cloud Gate

Co-organised by SUSS and Singaporean Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, and in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the SUSS Cultural China Public Lecture (CCPL) 2023 took place on 29 October. In its 13th edition, this year’s CCPL was well-received by a thousand people at the world-class Esplanade Theatre.

In his welcome remarks, Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan, Director of Centre for Chinese Studies@SUSS, explained that the concept of ‘Cultural China’ came about when Chinese emigrants to other parts of the world engaged in Chinese cultural activities influenced by local elements. These autonomous and diverse phenomena are collectively known as ‘Cultural China’.

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Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan, Director of Centre for Chinese Studies@SUSS, delivering his welcome address. 新跃中华学术中心主任符诗专副教授致欢迎词

Mr Lin Hwai-min, hailed as one of the world’s most important contemporary choreographers by The Times, delivered an insightful lecture titled London, Moscow and the Kids of Chishang: Lin Hwai-min Reflects on His Years with Cloud Gate. The novelist-turned-dancer and choreographer talked about how he drew inspiration from everyday life, traditional aesthetics and Asian cultures for his iconic works and his dedication to bringing art to the towns and villages of Taiwan.

2023 is the 50th anniversary of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, which Mr Lin founded in 1973. He led the company to international fame through his thrilling creations that transformed Asian aesthetics into contemporary art forms in motion.

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Mr Lin Hwai-min shared the stories of Cloud Gate. 主讲嘉宾林怀民先生娓娓道来他与云门舞集的点点滴滴

Cloud Gate made its debut in Europe in 1981 and has toured worldwide with frequent engagements at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, the Moscow Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Russia, the Movimentos International Dance Festival and the Internationales Tanzfest NRW in Germany, and the Next Wave Festival in New York.

Amid the international limelight Cloud Gate has been basking in for decades, Mr Lin never forgets his belief that dance performances are for all to enjoy, “for road sweepers, for taxi drivers, and everyone”, he emphasised during the lecture. He never stops engaging the communities by organising performances in the towns and villages of Taiwan.

Just a week before he flew to Singapore to give this talk, Mr Lin was busy with the 2023 Chishang Autumn Harvest Arts Festival where Cloud Gate performed on a stage set against the golden paddy fields and rolling ranges in the town of Chishang in Taiwan. Everyone in the town had a part to play in putting the festival together.

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Young volunteers carefully lining up the chairs at one of the Chishang Autumn Harvest Arts Festival. 细心的小义工正为池上秋收稻穗艺术节排椅子

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Secondary school students in Chishang making sure that the stage was ready for the Chishang Autumn Harvest Arts Festival. 池上的国中生不遗余力地确保舞台处于最佳状态

Accompanied by snippets and photographs at the lecture, Mr Lin eagerly shared his thought processes and sources of inspiration, including the brush strokes of Chinese calligraphy, behind his brilliant creations.

On the idea of ‘east meets west’, he illustrated it by comparing dance moves to architectural designs such as columns of ancient Greek buildings and Egypt's pyramid which have clean lines, versus China's Temple of Heaven which has a non-linear circular shape.

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An analogy between the Chinese ribbon dance and the Temple of Heaven (shown in the background). 林怀民以天坛的建筑形式与彩带舞解说两者间在形与态方面的相似之处

When it came to the development of Cloud Gate after his retirement, Mr Lin quipped that while he felt a little uneasy with the adoption of artificial intelligence in dance composition, the younger generations are apparently excited by using robotic technology to explore dance movements.

After the lecture, the audience had the opportunity to interact with Mr Lin and ask questions. Besides the interesting stories of Mr Lin and Cloud Gate, perhaps a succinct takeaway from the talk is, “Don’t teach them the moves, but teach them how to move. Just let the body take over.”

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The lecture was followed by a lively interaction with the audience. 林怀民先生在演讲结束后与观众交流

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Mr Lin Hwai-min (left) and the moderator Ms Woo Mun Ngan, Lianhe Zaobao Associate Editor and Fukan Editor. 林怀民先生(左)与对谈人,《联合早报》副总编辑兼副刊主任胡文雁女士

For more information visit the websites below:

纵横舞蹈界近半世纪 林怀民想对社会有交代 | 联合早报 (

林怀民讲座:下乡表演数十截 云门舞集传送人文关怀 | 联合早报 (

伦敦 莫斯科 以及池上的孩子:林怀民谈云门岁月



本届讲座邀请到被英国《泰晤士报》誉为‘世界最重要的当代编舞家之一’的舞蹈大师林怀民先生为主讲嘉宾。 他畅谈如何在动荡的时代,从生活、传统美学和亚洲故事汲取材料,创作出享誉国际的经典舞作,同时深入城乡,让舞蹈走进大众的生活。










纵横舞蹈界近半世纪 林怀民想对社会有交代 | 联合早报 (

林怀民讲座:下乡表演数十截 云门舞集传送人文关怀 | 联合早报 (

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