China Airlines and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (friends of FOTOSEPTIEMBRE USA SAFOTO) jointly unveiled a Cloud Gate Liveried Aircraft on July 21. The aircraft, adorned with images of graceful Cloud Gate dancers captured by photographer Chen-Hsiang Liu (2013 SAFOTO Web Galleries, curated by Chang Chaotang), is the latest in China Airlines’ series of liveried aircraft showcasing Taiwanese cultural creativity, and represents the pinnacle of Taiwan culture. On July 22, this new A330-300 aircraft will make its inaugural flight, visiting New Delhi on the way to Rome.
The Cloud Gate Liveried Aircraft was unveiled on July 21 at China Airlines’ Maintenance Facility. After a splendid solo performance by dancer Ming-Yuan Tsai, the curtain was raised to reveal painted images of the same dance performed by Tsai, sparking off a large round of applause from the audience.
China Airlines Chairman Huang-Hsiang Sun said, “As the leading brand in Taiwan’s aviation industry, China Airlines continuously promotes the cultural and creative industries of Taiwan on the global stage. Since last year, China Airlines has introduced a series of Cultural and Creative Liveried Aircraft with various themes: illustrations, tourism and indigenous culture. The collaboration with Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, the symbol of modern dance in Taiwan, is an opportunity to put the best of Taiwanese culture on display to global travelers.”
Cloud Gate founder Hwai-Min Lin said, “Cloud Gate has been touring internationally for years. When we see a China Airlines aircraft at an airport, it is like seeing family, and walking into the cabin on a return flight is like returning home. Cloud Gate is very pleased to collaborate with China Airlines in the creation of a beautiful first impression of Taiwan.”
The visual design of the Cloud Gate Liveried Aircraft is a calligraphic image selected by Lin from over 160 performances to show a “monochrome silhouette of dancers as if they were flying”. On the left side of the aircraft, Ming-Yuan Tsai’s chiffon skirt flutters from his brisk stride, and Yi-Ping Su sits with her knees bent and looks down serenely as if she were a bird in flight. On the right side, one can see a magnificent image of Li-Hsiang Wang leaping onto the nose of the aircraft, and Jia-Liang Lin and Wei-Ya Huang in flight on the fuselage, blending perfectly with the clouds.
This liveried aircraft is the creation of cutting-edge artists in Taiwan. Cloud Gate dancers wear gorgeous chiffon fabrics designed by renowned costume designer Jing-Ru Lin, floating between digital calligraphy created by image designer Yi-Sheng Wang. The lively movements of the dancers were captured by photographer Chen-Hsiang Liu, and the name of “Cloud Gate Dance Theater” was applied by master calligrapher Yang-Zi Dong. The Cloud Gate Liveried Aircraft has an elegant, mysterious and poetic style that embodies the fun of ink and wash painting and the unmistakable taste of a cultural icon. The ink and wash painting stands out from the colorfully painted aircraft and is a delight to the eye.
The Cloud Gate Liveried Aircraft carries 30 passengers in Business Class and 227 passengers in Economy Class. The cabin is decorated with artistic touches such as Cloud Gate hangings and videos, headrest covers adorned with inkwash paintings as well as introductory leaflets and cards created by renowned designer Ms. Rong-ling Huo to give passengers a more in-depth look at the art of “Cloud Gate”. In the future, passengers will have the chance to board this liveried aircraft in Rome, Honolulu, Sydney, Brisbane, Oakland and various Asian destinations.
In June last year, China Airlines introduced the Taiwan Cultural and Creative Series of Livered Aircraft. The first offering, the Love & Hug Liveried Aircraft, features selected works of famed illustrator Jimmy. The second, Taiwan Tourism Liveried Aircraft, carries the spirit of hospitality through the slogan “Time for Taiwan.” The third, Visiting Taiwan’s Indigenous Tribes Liveried Aircraft, features indigenous artist Sakuliu Pvavaljung’s work “Wedding Celebration.” The fourth, the current Cloud Gate Liveried Aircraft, brings the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre into the blue sky to dance among the clouds. Through China Airlines’ extensive global network, the China Airlines’ Cultural and Creative Series of Livered Aircraft presents the best of Taiwan culture to the world.
About Cloud Gate Dance Theatre
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre was founded by Hwai-Min Lin in 1973. It was the first professional dance theater in Taiwan and the first modern dance theater in the Chinese-speaking community. Over the past 40 years, Cloud Gate has created more than 160 productions. Cloud Gate is known for transforming ancient aesthetics into thrillingly original performances that draw on diverse disciplines, and for their visually spectacular sets. Some of its most popular dances are etched in the memory of three generations of Taiwanese people.
Cloud Gate has toured extensively internationally and performs frequently at important international art festivals. The dance theater has given over 2,000 performances on more than 200 stages across Taiwan, Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Its unique creativity and the breathtaking technique of its dancers are acclaimed as “the most important living cultural asset of Taiwan” (China Times Evening News), “Asia’s leading contemporary dance theatre” (The Times, London) and “the world’s top-notch modern dance theatre” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
Cloud Gate Dance School was founded in 1998 to bring the joy of dance to students. Cloud Gate 2 was established in 1999 to cultivate young choreographers and perform for grassroots communities in Taiwan. On Cloud Gate’s 30th anniversary in 2003, the Taipei Municipal Government named the lane where Cloud Gate’s office is located “Cloud Gate Lane” in recognition of Cloud Gate’s contribution to the cultural life of Taiwan. In 2010, National Central University’s Lulin Observatory named an asteroid it discovered “Cloud Gate” to honor the dance company’s artistic achievements. And in 2014, China Airlines pays tribute to Cloud Gate by painting its Airbus A330 aircraft with a Cloud Gate themed livery.
In 2008, when Cloud Gate’s rehearsal space in the Bali district of Danshui, Taipei, was ruined by fire, many organizations made donations to help Cloud Gate with its rebuilding efforts. Cloud Gate found another space next to Danshui’s Hobe Fort, and the new space will open in 2015.
Below are a few of Chen-Hsiang Liu’s photographs of Cloud Gate Dance Theater performances, and a portrait of Cloud Gate founder and Director, Hwai-Min Lin.