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Press Release: Cloud Gate presents UK premiere of 13 Tongues and Dust

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Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan 
13 Tongues & Dust 
Wednesday 26 - Saturday 29 February 
Performances: Wed - Sat at 7.30pm
Tickets: £15 - £50
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com   


World-renowned Taiwanese company Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan presents the UK premiere of 13 Tongues & Dust at Sadler’s Wells from Wednesday 26 - Saturday 29 February. The programme features work from the company’s current artistic director Lin Hwai-min, who steps down in 2020, and new artistic director, Cheng Tsung-lung.

Lin’s Dust uses Dmitri Shostakovich’s response to the destruction of Dresden to form his own requiem for this century. Smoke whirls in the air. Dancers clad in black and dark brown costumes stagger and crawl, making brief appearances out of the smoke in the dim lighting. Against desolate images, they collapse and struggle to stand up. They cluster in lines and groups for protection, only to be broken down, as smoke slowly swallows them up.


Cheng Tsung-lung grew up selling slippers on the side of the road. For 13 Tongues, he merges his memories of the sights and sounds of the street with tales of the storyteller Thirteen Tongues, in a fantasy world of gods and spirits. The metallic sound of a hand bell unfolds the soundscape that fuses Taiwanese folk songs, Japanese nakashi tunes and electronic music. Dancers chant mysterious mantras, stomp, stagger and tremble like enchanted shamans, until the light dims down and glaring fluorescent patterns on their costumes flow through the space, as if thousands of wandering spirits from the old Bangka were evoked.


Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: “It has been very special to be able to present Cloud Gate here at Sadler’s Wells since 1999, and I have hugely enjoyed working with Lin Hwai-min over the past 20 years. It is a very important moment in the history of the company as Lin Hwai-min steps down as Artistic Director, and these performances are a wonderful opportunity to present both his incredible work, Dust, and to welcome new Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung with the UK premiere of his piece, 13 Tongues. I am looking forward to continuing our relationship with Cloud Gate and getting to know Cheng Tsung-lung over the coming years.


Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China. In 1973, choreographer Lin Hwai-min adopted this classical name and founded the first contemporary dance company in the Chinese-speaking community: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. Cloud Gate dancers are trained in meditation, Qi Gong, internal martial arts, modern dance and ballet. The company transforms ancient aesthetics into a thrilling modern celebration of motion.

Acclaimed as “Asia’s leading contemporary dance theatre” (The Times), Cloud Gate tours extensively worldwide. In Taiwan, in addition to its annual season, the company also tours to campuses and grass-root communities and holds free annual outdoor performances, which draw audiences of around 30,000 for each performance. The company first visited Sadler’s Wells in 1999 and most recently performed here with Formosa in May 2018.




About Sadler’s Wells

Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, its mission is to make and share dance that inspires us all. 


Our vision is to create, through dance, a depth of connection beyond borders, cultures and languages, so we see ourselves in each other. 


Audiences of over half a million come to Sadler’s Wells’ three London theatres each year, with many more enjoying its touring productions at venues across the UK and around the world and accessing its content through digital channels. Sadler's Wells commissions, produces and presents more dance than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 170 new dance works to the stage, many of them involving its 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and four Associate Companies – the most exciting talents working in dance today. 


Sadler’s Wells nurtures the next generation of talent through a range of artist development initiatives and reaches over 30,000 annually through its learning and engagement programmes.


Located in Islington, north London, Sadler’s Wells’ current building is the sixth to have stood on site since entrepreneur Richard Sadler first established the theatre in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since, with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera having all started at Sadler's Wells.

Sadler’s Wells is to open an additional mid-scale venue in east London in 2022. The new space will be at the heart of the East Bank project, a new cultural and education district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, which will also include BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. As well as a 550-seat auditorium, Sadler’s Wells’ new venue will include a choreographic centre and a hip hop theatre academy, the first of their kind in the world to be run by a theatre.



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