Lin first Asian choreographer to receive lifetime achievement honor
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre artistic director/choreographer Lin Hwai-min accepts the Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement Friday in a ceremony during the festival’s Forces of Dance program.
“I feel very honored,” Lin said in an interview earlier this week.
The award, the largest of its kind in the United States, recognizes choreographers for their contributions to modern dance. Lin is the first Asian choreographer to receive this award started in 1981 with Martha Graham as the first recipient.
When first announced in January, news of this award caused quite a stir in his native Taiwan. “Everybody’s so happy,” Lin said.
His career spans more than four decades and has earned him many international awards. “While his works often draw inspiration from traditional elements of Asian culture and aesthetics, his choreographic brilliance continues to push boundaries and redefine the art form,” ADF said in a release announcing Lin as this year’s Scripps/ADF Award recipient.
His company, founded in 1973, has appeared at ADF in 2002 and 2003. As part of the Forces of Dance program, Cloud Gate’s Chou Chang-ning performs the solo from Lin’s 1998 “Moon Water.”
Lin was a student at ADF in 1978, the first year the festival took place in Durham. “That summer was very hot,” he recalled. At the time, he had not seen much modern dance because companies were not touring in Taiwan. “I saw wonderful performances. That’s good exposure,” he said of that ADF experience.
His work is often noted for its meditative quality and beautiful, evocative images. “At a time like this, chaotic and depressing, beauty can be a weapon to go against this ugliness. I hope, for two hours, I can give the audience a sense of peace,” he said.
Meditation, martial arts and even calligraphy classes are part of his company’s training. He developed “Moon Water” from chi kung, a practice of aligning breath, movement and awareness for exercise, healing and meditation.
GO & DO
WHAT: The American Dance Festival presents Forces of Dance.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center.