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'Slow Dancing' allows close examination of movements

As one of the final highlights of the 11th Taipei Arts Festival, a free public exhibition of “Slow Dancing,” which features short video images of 50 famous performance artists, will be available to local audiences every night from August 23 to September 3 at the Taipei Zhongshan Hall Corridor, allowing audiences to appreciate every subtle nuance of the performer's body.

Produced by David Michalek, “Slow Dancing” is an outdoor video installation which presents these images in extreme slow motion — a five-second clip is prolonged to about 10 minutes. This marks the first showing of the exhibition in Asia.

Among the 50 international artists portrayed in this exhibition are two local dancers - Sheu Fang-yi, and Contemporary Legend founder and Beijing opera innovator Wu Hsing-kuo.

At a press conference to announce the opening of “Slow Dancing,” on August 23, both Sheu and Wu were on hand to share their experiences in recording the exhibition.

Wu disclosed that it took him two hours just to film a five-second clip, while Sheu's portion took four hours.

"The reason why it took me so long to film the five seconds is that I wanted to show the essence of my lifelong experience in dancing in the short space of five seconds,” Wu noted. Sheu added that it is amazing to find that one can show so much energy and momentum in just five seconds.

Although the director of the exhibition, Michalek, was not able to join the opening of the exhibition due to a medical emergency, the American artist sent his best regards to Taipei in an open letter.

"It is my hope that people will find the time to sit comfortably with the work so that their minds can freely wander,” he wrote.

"Let each dancer and every gesture, every fleeting expression, every wisp of flowing or trail of silk or ripple of flesh become a moment of your all,” Michalek said in the letter.

Meanwhile, a photography contest for big prizes will be held in conjunction with the exhibition.

The exhibition will be held at every night from 19:00 to 21:30 from August 21 to September 3 at the Taipei Zhongshan Hall Corridor.