Ching-Ying Chien

Initial inspiration for this piece came from an old Tibetan myth about vultures. It is said that nobody ever sees the body of a deceased vulture. When a vulture knows it’s life is close to ending it will fly high up towards the sun and melt away into nothing. It ties in a little with the Greek myth of Icarus and Daedalus. Man imitating nature and failing. The vast sky of freedom motivates Icarus to soar high till his wings melted, and causes his downfall. Both characters are approaching the sun. The vulture is controlling the end of its own life, while the man losing life for the craving of freedom.

Ching-Ying Chien also gained inspiration from her life. Witnessing the death of her family or friend, she learns the uncontrollable nature of human life, and exclaims man’s various limitations. As a dancer, she can break free from the human frame. With the live guitar and drum music of Josef Ashwin and James Heggarty providing the perfect complement to her performance, Chien transforms between bird, human, and shaman on stage. By interpreting the possibility, impossibility, madness and control of a free spirit inside a human body, she explores the limitation and freedom of life.

Premiere: Nov. 8, 2018 at Weiwuying Playhouse, Kaohsiung , Taiwan.

Tour: Apr. 29, 2023 at Project Arts Center (Upstairs) as part of Aerowaves’ Spring Forward Festival

Commissioned by National Performing Arts Center – National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), Taiwan.
Sponsored by the National Culture and Arts Foundation and made possible by a grant from the Lo Man-Fei Dance Fund, Cloud Gate Culture and Arts Foundation, Taiwan.
Development of Vulture’s short version was produced by Akram Khan Company as part of their Portraits in Otherness initiative and the first stage premiered on Jun. 7, 2018 at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells Theater, London, UK.

Choreography and PerformanceChing-Ying Chien | Composition, Guitar and VocalJoseph Ashwin | DrumJames Heggarty | Lighting DesignJui-Hsuan Tseng | Costume DesignMarie Cantenys | Sound DesignPhil Wood

Critics for Taiwan Dance Platform:

''Her tiny body possesses an explosive energy and a prodigious presence...''

Meng-Hsuan Wu, Taiwan Dance Platform:

“Her physical ability is astonishing. Her tiny body possesses an explosive energy and a prodigious presence… the physical training and exploration of animal primitiveness have indeed made a deep mark on her work, enabling her to represent the haughtiness and insolence of the vulture, as well as its determination when facing death.”