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Taiwanese choreographer wins Movimentos lifetime award
Central News Agency
2009-05-13 09:49 PM
Wolfsburg, Germany, May 13 (CNA) Praised as a major innovator in the field of dance, Taiwanese choreographer Lin Hwai-min was presented with a Movimentos lifetime achievement award Tuesday.

Lin, founder and artistic director of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, is only the second choreographer to receive the honor, which is an indication of the high esteem in which he is held by the European dance community.

The 62-year-old artist accepted the award at a presentation ceremony at the Volkswagen Autostadt in the German city of Wolfsburg, home to an annual dance festival.

In 2004, organizers of the International Movimentos Dance Festival decided to honor outstanding dancers and choreographers once every five years. The first lifetime achievement award went to the late Maurice Bejart, a French choreographer and leader of various dance companies.

The jury ranked Lin's contributions to the creativity of dance on the same level as those of George Balanchine, Maurice Bejart, William Forsythe and Birgit Cullberg, whose works are known to be "rarely seen in 100 years." "Lin liberated Taiwanese dance arts from Chinese traditions without breaking those traditions, and succeeded in linking a rich cultural heritage with the modern world of dance," the jury said in a statement.

It also praised Lin for his broad knowledge of both Asian and European culture and of trends in contemporary arts.

The jury was composed of some of the top choreographers from European countries, such as Norway, France and Sweden.

In his acceptance speech, Lin described the award as a surprise honor, saying he never thought of clinching the coveted laurel because Europe is known to be the mecca of modern dance and boasts a wealth of dance talent.

Lin thanked the people of Taiwan for their support for Cloud Gate over the past 36 years. He also thanked the 5,000 people in Taiwan and overseas who made donations to his troupe after its rehearsal studio in Pali, Taipei County, was destroyed in a fire last year.

"Because I have 5,000 shareholders, I will not be able to retire, even though I now have a life achievement award," Lin said.

He told the audience of more than 1,000 at the award ceremony that he will donate the 20,000 euros (NT$900,000) in Movimentos prize money to the construction of Cloud Gate's new dance center in Tamshui, which is expected to be completed in 2012.

The six outstanding dancers who won this year's Movimentos Best Dancer Award performed at the presentation ceremony, while Cloud Gate brought down the curtain with segments from its famous production "Cursive." The three-hour ceremony will be broadcast by the European arts channel ARTE and by the German television station ZDF Thursday evening.

The International Movimentos Dance Festival and Awards is sponsored by the Volkswagen motor group, in collaboration with the two European television companies, to honor outstanding dancers and choreographers.

ARTE -- the Association Relative a la Television Europeenne -- sent a crew to Taipei last October to interview Lin and film Cloud Gate's autumn performance. The program has since been broadcast in several European countries.

(By Lin Yu-li and Sofia Wu)

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