To enhance relations between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and countries in Northern Europe, the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged a tour of the Team-Win Lion Dance Theatre through Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Sweden from Aug. 14 through Sept. 4. The troupe showcased its special brand of Taiwanese performance art to audiences in these countries.
MOFA held a send-off news conference on Aug. 12 at which Vice Minister Vanessa Y. P. Shih bestowed upon Chen Chin-yi, leader of the lion dance troupe, an ROC flag, by way of wishing the group a successful tour.
In remarks delivered on the occasion, the Vice Minister said that disasters have been seen the world over recently, and that Taiwan was no exception, with a TransAsia Airways flight having crashed in Penghu and gas mains exploding in Kaohsiung. MOFA, in addition to expressing deepest condolences to the victims of these tragedies, thought it an appropriate time to bring a little joy from Taiwan to the people of Northern Europe through the lion troupe performance, as the lion is seen as auspicious in Chinese culture.
Although Europe is physically distant from Taiwan, the two share a very close relationship: The European Union is not only Taiwan’s fourth-largest trade partner, but is also its largest source of foreign investment, with a total aggregate of US$32 billion having been invested by Europe in Taiwan.
The ROC has always valued its relationship with Europe. The bilateral relationship has already borne much fruit thanks to the joint efforts of the ROC government and private sector. One major recent development, for example, is that ROC passport-holders have enjoyed visa-free access to the Schengen area since January 2011, which has bolstered business and private trips to Schengen countries by ROC citizens.
Team-Win Lion Dance Theatre will deliver eight performances in Northern Europe, including one during a major celebration in Riga, Latvia. Its repertoire features lion dancing, drumming, and pole jumping, as well as dances to electronic music in the costume of the santaizi, a mythical figure. These performances will create the atmosphere characteristic of a temple festival infused with innovative elements and will, it is hoped, boost foreigners’ understanding of Taiwan.
Established by Mr. Chen Shun-ji 13 years ago, Team-Win Lion Dance Theatre is one of the most creative and lively lion dance groups in Taiwan. It has been named multiple times as an outstanding modern performance theater group by New Taipei City, in addition to having performed 48 times over 30 days at the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012. (E)