I went to the first annual Techno Nezha Dance competition in Xinying, Tainan last lantern festival. For me, the highlight was not the dancing Nezha Great God Parade Generals, but rather watching and meeting some of the award winning Chio-tian Folk Arts Troupe’s performances. Their evident professionalism, commitment and passion made for very powerful performances. I watched them practice and refine their movements under the critical eye of director Hsu Cheng Rong.Their lovely expressions and exuberance during their performance made them enjoyable to photograph.
It was not until later that I realized that this was the group that has performed on numerous occasions to critical acclaim overseas promoting and preserving Taiwan’s folk culture nationally and internationally. This is also the very group that carried their huge drums up to the peak of Taiwan’s 3,952m Yushan!I watched a stirring drum performance and a Nezha Great God Parade General performance, but Chio-tian is much more than that. They also perform Guan Jiang Shou, Chi and Ba Yeh Great God Parade Generals, among other traditional zhen tou performances as well as teaching kids and adults around the island.