The Fluid Performance of Chungliang Al Huang and the Jupiter Spring Quartet

A welcome sign at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, where this performance was held.
My ticket for the performance

     For the performance of the Jupiter Spring Quartet with Chungliang Al Huang, I really was not sure what to expect at all. I had been to a few classical performances before but nothing paired with a visual or dance component.  The audio along with the visual aspect together was a new experience. I did not feel like my brain was overloaded with trying to process the information. Before the Taiji and dancing was introduced, it felt like the music was telling a story. Jupiter Spring left it up to the listener to interpret what was being said. Once Chungliang came onstage and began to do Taiji,he began to tell a more solid story with his actions. This along with the music made for a very interesting performance.

     This showcase had parts featuring just music from the quartet, music and Taiji, music and formal dance and music with group dance. The combination that I enjoyed the most though, would have had to be the strings along with the formal dancing. It was a very eye catching, sharp and calculated performance. Both the style of dance and music was a stark contrast to the rest of the production, which was more fluid and slow in movement and style. The energy shifted in the theatre once this part started and I think it gave a much needed change of pace. I also believed that this was the most interesting part as well. In the beginning of the section, the duo began by doing the tango. The tango is regarded by many as a dance that expresses sensuality so I thought that it was an interesting choice for the Jupiter Spring Quartet to pair this dance and the accompanying music with a pair of two men. There seemed to be no gender roles as both men went back and forth following and leading. I believe there was a good balance between what is widely known as ballroom tango and the shock value of having men perform the dance as partners. There was a break in the heteronormativity that is common in ballroom dance. I think that placing this in the middle of the entire presentation was the right thing to do, as it served as a sort of climax before Chungliang and others came back out with natural, fluent movement.

     The director did a very good job with setting up the order of the performances. The tone shifted with every performance both onstage and within the audience and I believe that it fit exactly what the director was trying to portray.  There was a slow build up that led to the climax and then the action fell back down until the end came. The music was able to tell a story on its own as well as when paired with Taiji and dancing. All around it was a very interesting performance and it kept the audiences’ attention.

-Alysia Glover

My ticket alongside a to-scale model of the Krannert Center.

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