Head in the Clouds

Modern dance meets traditional discipline

by Jessie Ammons

When the Portuguese discovered Taiwan off the coast of China in the 16th century, they were said to have called it Formosa, or beautiful isle. Their initial exclamation of beauty inspires a modern dance performance in Chapel Hill March 6.

Also called Formosa, the work by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will be energetic and ethereal. The dance troupe produces simultaneously delicate and explosive choreography by integrating ancient movement arts into its modern dance playbook, including Qigong, martial arts, and ballet. For Formosa, evocative staging adds to the mix: shapes and colors meant to suggest mountains, rivers, and tsunamis. The dance was commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts for this one-time performance, the kind of mind-bending and genre-bending show worth beholding.

7:30 p.m.; $25; carolinaperformingarts.org