Life has gotten quite intense here in Taiwan. We are working 12 hour days and still have a lot to get done before performances begin August 2nd. Each day seems to be epic, and filled with highs and lows for the whole team. Our group choreography is coming along nicely. The theme of the piece is Monkeys, so we have been doing lots of monkey movement research from breakdancing to contact improv so that has been fun. We also got to create monkey masks. This was the first time I have every molded anything with clay. We started out with a big pile of clay and chiseled away, and molded to find our inner monkey. It was amazing to watch the transformation created with my own hands. I really enjoyed the experience of finding the monkey face in the clay.
I am very excited about my new hoop routine that I have choreographed to an original piece of music by Nick Meehan. It is a very dynamic piece filled with all my favorite hoop moves. It is both lyrical and circus, with a space for my playful (monkey) side to come through. I am excited to perform it for the show, and continue working with this piece at the hooping life premiere when I get back to Montreal.
I am directing a huge community project here in Luodong. We have 14 teams who range from trained dance teams, to the farmers association, to city hall. Each team has between 20 & 40 members. Along with 3 of the other circus artists we are creating choreographies using circus props for the parade that will happen August 21st. Yesterday I got to go to an Arts School where I worked with 30 dance students between the ages of 9-12yrs. With the help of their teacher we created a moving choreography using rhythmic gymnastics ribbons and hoops. None of them speak English so it was quite an experience! Luckily I had a translator there to help. I am learning how to count in mandarin and say up, down, right, left, slow, fast, bigger, smaller, from the beginning, all together now. By the end of the month hopefully I will have at least these words down!
This morning we were the rockstars of the Press Conference so we will probably be on Taiwan TV this week promoting the Parade. It is a pretty significant event in the whole country.
I think I am getting used to being here, however every day seems to be a new adventure, and sometimes I have to pinch myself because it all feels so surreal. Most people ride scooters here, and pedestrians definitely do not have the right of way. Aside from the Czech Artists, we are the only foreigners here. Most of us are vegetarian and the locals think that is really strange. The average meal here goes for about $$1.50-$2. We get a food allowance of $5/day so I am trying to curb my coffee habit, because coffee costs about the same as food.