Cloud Gate dancers safe after strong quakes in Mexico

Taipei, Dancers with Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theatre who are currently touring in Mexico are all safe after the country was hit by a series of strong earthquakes over the past few days, the troupe's publicist told CNA on Monday.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the state of Oaxaca near the Pacific coast shook southern and central Mexico on Feb. 16, and several aftershocks were then experienced before a magnitude 6.1 earthquake rocked the country again on Monday.

The publicist told CNA that the dance troupe was rehearsing at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, or Palace of Fine Arts, in Mexico City when Friday's earthquake occurred.

Members of the troupe were immediately evacuated following the strong quake and none of them were injured.

The quake did not prevent the troupe from staging its show later that night at the venue, the publicist said. Its Friday and Saturday performances of its 2013 production "Rice" were well-received by sell-out crowds, according to the publicist.

Another challenge for the troupe was performing at Mexico City's high altitude of 2,250 meters above sea level, according to the troupe's latest post on its Facebook page.

The high altitude meant all dancers faced a shortness of breath and endurance, and they had to make use of short breaks to inhale oxygen from air tanks to be able to perform as well as they do at normal altitudes, the post said.

After concluding its Mexico tour, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will tour six cities in the United States from Feb. 25 to March 24, where it will perform its latest production called "Formosa."

Founded by choreographer Lin Hwai-min (???) in 1973, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre was Taiwan's first professional dance company.

It has been called "Asia's leading contemporary dance theatre" by the Times of London. Its production of "Moon Water" was selected by the New York Times as the best dance of 2003.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel