Ensemble “Rustavi” Administration Press Release, October 10th, 2020
Connecting with the 50th anniversary of the Ensemble “Rustavi”, there has been published a very important anthology – “400 Georgian Folk Songs”.
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Cloud Gate Dance
Theatre of Taiwan
A Gift from Bodhgaya and
the Voice from Heaven
…I picked up a cassette tape which was given to me by a friend in Vienna earlier that year… And when male voices flew out of the cassette player, I trembled. They were folksongs of Georgia, sung by the Rustavi Choir. The songs might have been about farming and feasting, but all carried a strong sense of religious comfort, pacifying yet uplifting at the same time. Enhanced by the spiritual quality of Georgian folksongs by the Rustavi Choir, Songs of the Wanderers turned out to be a beautiful work that had moved audiences in more than 20 countries. And I always dreamt of performing it with the Rustavi Choir.
Like a gift from Buddha, it happened! We were invited by the Dresdner Musikfestspiele to perform with the Rustavi at the HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden, in 2011, 17 years after the premiere of the work. It was an electrifying experience. Despite their familiarity of the music, tears swelled up in the eyes of the dancers when they heard the singing of the first song. Together the singers and the dancers gave mesmerizing performances that moved many people in the audience into tears.
The singers of Rustavi are beautiful, gentle people. Offstage we quickly made friends with one another. The language barrier was not a problem, the singing and movement brought us together, perhaps closer than friends communicating fluently with words. Before each performance, the dancers and the singers encouraged one another with a little gesture or an exchange of looks, silently preparing themselves for a holy ritual. Parting in Dresden was difficult, not knowing if we would ever meet and work together again.
With blessings from Buddha, we were brought together again to repeat our collaboration at the Tanzsommer Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012. Last month Rustavi Choir and Cloud Gate met again in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and staged two plays there. As our friendship deepened, our rapport increased, the dancers and the singers seemed to breathe together, making performances even more sensitive and exquisite.
Right now, the Rustavi is hosted by Taiwan and with great excitement, I anticipate the curtain raising at the National Theater in Taipei, to share with friends in my homeland a work I brought back from Bodhgaya and the voice from beyond Caucasus, from heaven, that is.