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Jade Dance Theatre wows audiences at Seoul Friendship Festival

By Yali Chen

Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) led the Jade Dance Theatre (玉舞蹈劇場) to take part in the 2019 Seoul Friendship Festival in an effort to strengthen sister-city exchange and cooperation.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government held the festival from August 31 through September 1 on the Seoul Plaza. Now in its 24th year, the event features a wide variety of cultural performances by visiting sister cities.
Taipei and Seoul became sister cities in 1968. This year, the DOCA invited the Jade Dance Theatre to represent Taipei and participate in the festival.
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Photo from DOCA
The Jade Dance Theatre at the opening parade of the Seoul Friendship Festival on August 31.
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Photo from DOCA
The Jade Dance Theatre performance at the festival.

On August 31, the opening parade kicked off with a series of cultural performances from 16 cities around the world. Nearly 20,000 spectators watched the shows within the parade that started from the Seoul Metropolitan Government and wound its way through the Cheonggyecheon Park in Seoul.
DOCA Deputy Commissioner Tien Wei said that the performance by the Jade Dance Theatre received rapturous acclaim. The Seoul Metropolitan Government even requested the troupe to do another show.
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Photo from DOCA
Tien Wei (right), Deputy Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, meets with officials of the Seoul Metropolitan Government to exchange views on the restoration of historical monuments in Seoul.
In 1997, Hua Pi-yu (華碧玉) founded the Jade Dance Theatre in Taipei. The Ministry of Culture supported the troupe between 2012 and 2017. In 2018, the DOCA selected the dance company as Taipei’s outstanding performing arts group.
Under Hua’s leadership, the troupe has performed in Scotland, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. Hua specializes in combining traditional Eastern and modern Western dance movements to represent Taiwan’s folk culture.
In Seoul, the dancers wore red costumes in performing “Eggs of Blessings,” a dance that drew inspiration from a Taiwan tradition. When babies turned one month old, their parents would give away red-dyed eggs to relatives and friends.
The performance included singing of Taiwanese folk songs, stage props that represented Taiwanese household items, and children’s toys. The dancers in red represented red eggs; their acrobatic movements sought to convey the joy of the occasion.
Hua said she hoped that their show in Seoul could increase the international visibility of Jade Dance and convey the beauty of Taiwan and its people.