Taiwan Season: Varhung – Heart to Heart

Varhung- Heart to Heart will touch your heart. A mesmerizing experience of exquisitely melded indigenous and contemporary dance, it is choreographed by Baru Madiljin of Tjimur Dance Theatre, whose explicit aim is to preserve and transform the Taiwanese minority Paiwan people’s culture into an expressive body language for today.

Varhung: Heart to Heart will touch your heart.

Three performers (two male, one female) Ching-Hao Yang, Ljaucu Tapurakac and Tzu-En Meng, dressed in peasant outfits of rough cotton tunics over loose trousers dance mainly in unison, their movements imitating the picking, cutting, drying and peeling of the shell ginger plant which the villagers harvest yearly on the mountains. Their swaying, repetitive movements continue throughout the show creating a hypnotic effect and heightened experience for the audience. Balancing on one leg while raising the other is a key movement, the technique of the dancers evident as there is rarely a wobble, and these continue throughout in what must be an exhausting test for the dancers. Yet at the end of the show, the legs are even higher and their energy is amazing.

The traditional “Four Step” dance with hands linked and crossing (evoking the sense of a community) is woven into more contemporary moves as the performance progresses and these become larger and wilder. Baru Madiljin says that he is influenced by Akram Khan, Tao Dance company and Pina Bausch and the latter is particularly evident in the use of speech when they break away from each other and continually cry out “anemaq?” (why?) or “makudja?” (what happened?). Since the Paiwan people often keep their feelings locked inside, their traditional songs help express emotion and the show culminates in haunting songs, the two male voice particularly beautiful as the story of a broken love emerges.

Glancing at the songs listed in the programme, there are some intriguing titles such as “An old hag that wears shoes and stomps over people’s stomachs at night making them breathless”. The audience too will be breathless at the emotional power of this extraordinary show.

Reviews by Stephanie Green

Scottish Ballet

The Secret Theatre

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Antigone, Interrupted

★★★★
Festival Theatre

Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen

★★★★
Royal Lyceum Theatre

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol

★★★★★
Festival Theatre

Rite of Spring

★★★
Dance Base

Juliet & Romeo

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Taiwan’s premier indigenous dance-theatre company presents a richly patterned, open-hearted performance in which private feelings are on the verge of being made public. Both physically and emotionally charged, Tjimur’s work embraces a bounty of intoxicating, artfully expressed sensations. Working in close collaboration with the company’s founding artistic director Ljuzem Madiljin, in-house choreographer (and sibling) Baru Madiljin and three dynamic dancers bring ancient Paiwan cultural traditions up to date. They know every human heart holds profound secrets. Their appealing, fine-tuned awareness lends the unique personal and tribal impulses of Varhung a distinctly universal resonance.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets